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San Francisco part 1–a gallery find

Elaine Bradford, Crossbreeding a Doe with Your Grandmother’s Afghan, 2006, mounted doe head, yarn, buttons, size variable; photo courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery

The pleasure of happening on unexpected art–maybe a stencil on the sidewalk, maybe a public sculpture–happened more than once to me last week in San Francisco. The first time was a gallery window I passed while walking toward Union Square.

Elaine Bradford, Elongated, 2007, taxidermy deer head, crocheted yarn, buttons, fake fur and fiberfill, size variable

The work was a taxidermied deer head attached to an ultra-long neck hanging off of a modest wooden trophy placque. The head and neck were covered in a homey, crocheted sweater with wooden buttons. The merger of the traditional tender craft with a macho trophy, the luchera mask (or is it a balaclava?) with the Dr. Who scarf, pulled me right into the gallery.

Nathaniel Donnett, Pre Plurubus Unum, 2012, conte, graphite, color pencil, acrylic paint, plastic on paper bags, 61 x 64 inches

The show, Voices of Home, was at San Francisco’s Jenkins Johnson Gallery, which now also has a space in Chelsea.

Leslie Smith III, Window, 2011, oil and spray paint on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

Most of the 34 works by a diverse group of 10 artists relate directly to African American identity. The range is astonishing, from traditional paintings and drawings with an exotic touch by Elizabeth Colomba, to word art by Christine Wong Yap.  The exhibit is a slight variation on an African American History Month show at Jenkins Johnson’s Chelsea gallery, which got some good press. The San Francisco version runs March 23 to May 5.

Noel Anderson, Strange Place for Cosby’s Fruit, 2012, woven tapestry, 80 x 60 inches

In addition to the artists mentioned and/or shown, the exhibit includes work by Felandus Thames, Zak Ove, and Nicholas Africano.

Jamal Cyrus, Eroding Witness (episode #221), 2011, laser cut papyrus, gouache, 17 x 14 inches (Cyrus got his MFA from Penn)