Friday evening I visited the CBD gallery in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. Mike Kimball and Stephen Wagner have each put up a series of artworks that are titled “People, Places and Things: Depictions of Contemporary Life in the City”.
Michael’s works are small scale etchings of SF and Kyoto – city scenes done mainly in black and white with skilled elements of aquatint and intricate line work. Stephen’s works are also black and white and he has created a series of intriguing characters (think Man Ray’s and/or Picabia’s portrait of Steiglitz) using an inventive collage method. Both artists are very active and involved in the alternative and community art scene in San Francisco.
The CBD Gallery seems to be pretty new and is inside the offices of the Tenderloin Development project (web site description is below this text). It is below ground level with short squatty ceilings, sparkly clean white walls and a large window that looks out onto a sunken garden area. Stephen Wagner is involved in curating exhibtions along with scheduling arts related lectures and classes in this space. The storefront that greets you off of Golden Gate Avenue is above ground/street level and in full view are additional artworks.
If you are not familiar with the Tenderloin of SF, it is a rather ‘tough’ place. One thinks more of trafficking and crime here than a place to go see/experience art. Perhaps that is the inspiration here – to connect art to this location , note the title of the show : Depictions of Contemporary Life in the City.