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introductions 2013 September 11 - 28, 2013

Introductions has been a core part of Root Division’s annual Exhibitions programming for seven years. Conceived as an opportunity to bridge a gap left when the San Francisco Arts Dealer Association (SFADA) discontinued their thirty-year summer programming of the same name, Introductions has become a mainstay of our roster. This show highlights talent in the Bay Area and creates connections for artists with commercial galleries and beyond. With an active Studios Program and ambitious Exhibitions Program housed in one location, Root Division is in the unique position to act as a link between the production and presentation of visual art. Our goal is to serve as a connector to the larger art community, and to offer an entry point for artists as they develop and hone their professional practice. Introductions begins each year as an open call to any Bay Area artist whose work is not currently represented by a gallery. Reviewed by a committee of three arts professionals representing a diversity of commercial, non-profit, and educational venues, the exposure for any submitting artist is invaluable. Each year we are encouraged and impressed by the quality of submissions, and we are surprised by the number of outstanding artists still operating under the radar of commercial representation.

COVERS: Monique Lopez “It’s Been 13 Years and It Continues to Grow (detail) #2”

2013 Dimensions variable Vinyl, fabric, steel mesh scrubber, paper maché, spray paint, thread, and map pins.


This year twelve artists were selected through intensive review by Monica Ramirez-Montagut (Associate Director and Senior Curator at MACLA (Movimiento de Art y Cultura Latino Americana),
Eli Ridgway (Director of the Eli Ridgway Gallery), 
and Justine Topfer (Curator of Out of the Box Projects and Project Manager of the Public Art Program at the San Francisco Arts Commission). In these pages, you will find an essay by Justine Topfer contextualizing the work of each artist and bringing the works into conversation with one another as well as within a larger discourse of art practice. Highlighting these artists through exhibition, catalogue, and special reception for arts professionals and gallerists, Root Division is happy to provide an opportunity for these artists to add to the conversation of contemporary Bay Area art. We are proud to debut this group of artists and to support their continued artistic and professional development. – Amy Cancelmo, Exhibitions & Events Coordinator, Root Division

table of contents Ryan Carrington — 4 Sara Dykstra — 5 Yvonne Escalante — 6 Laura Fischer — 7 Blake Gibson — 8 Monique Lopez — 9 Steven Vasquez Lopez — 10 Shelley Monahan — 11 Brittany M. Powell — 12 Tim Power — 13 Terry Powers — 14 Kate Rhoades — 15 Exhibition Essay: “Materiality, Process and Quiet Listening” Justine Topfer — 16


Ryan carrington 4

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

Chalk Line Drawing #13

Bipartisanship (Left)

Chalk Line Drawing #8




48 x 48 x 1/2 in.

20 x 26 x 2 1/2 in.

16 x 13 in.

Chalk snap-line, plywood, U.V.

Screws, plywood

Chalk snap-line, plywood, U.V.

archival varnish

archival varnish


Revolving Around you #1 to #4 (clockwise) 2013 40 x 40 in. each Oil on linen



Keeping Time

Kernel of Truth



12 x 9 x 6 in.

6 x 1 x 1 in. (each, six total)

Brass sinker, Honduran mahogany,

Dried native corn, resin, machined brass

African mahagony, chime block, cast glass, motor, electrical cord

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


Means of Production / Production of Means

no. 3 (top)

no. 6 (bottom)

(installation view no. 18, no. 19 shown)




9 x 9 x 9 in.

6 x 6 x 6 in.

Dimensions variable

Concrete, plywood

Concrete and thread

Concrete and thread sculpture on pedestal

and thread


Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


Inhabit 2013 96 x 126 in.


Acrylic and latex on canvas

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


“It’s Been 13 Years and It

Preposterous (Top)


Continues to Grow (detail) #1”




64 x 40 in.

25 x 20 in.

Dimensions variable Vinyl, fabric, steel mesh scrubber, paper mache, spray paint, thread and map pins

Ink, ballpoint pen, and

Ink, ballpoint pen, and

collage on Duralar

collage on Duralar



Shelf Life 101 2013 35 x 42 in. Ink on paper



Smear #4 (detail)

Smear #1 (detail)



24 x 30 in.

24 x 18 in.

Oil on Masonite panel

Oil on Masonite panel



Debt Portrait #4, San Francisco, CA 2013 25 x 36 in.


Inkjet print

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


This Highway Segment Dedicated to.... 2013 6 prints at 21 1/2 x 17 in., 1 print at 35 1/2 x 28 in. Digital chromogenic prints







60 x 44 in.

60 x 44 in.

Oil on canvas

Oil on canvas


Artist Statement (Top)

Studio Visit with Cindy Bag





Digital video

Digital video


Materiality, Process, and Quiet Listening “Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of the materials.” - Anni Albers, “Weaving in a College,” n.d. Anni Albers (1899-1994), who is undoubtedly one of the most esteemed textile artists of the last century, emphasizes materiality and process. Yet it is the sensitivity to quiet listening, as she points out, that is the resounding force in the making of art. Upon selection of the 12 artists for Introductions 2013 by jurors Eli Ridgway, Monica Ramirez-Montagut and myself, I was struck by the resonance of this idea to the group. Process and labor, patterning and materiality both literal and metaphorically - are recurring threads throughout their practice. Despite a disparity of medium and subject, common to all is a quiet and acute listening, both to material and subject. With the intent to showcase untapped, emerging talent in the Bay Area contemporary arts scene, Introductions 2013 is the seventh iteration of the annual exhibition at Root Division. The organization’s gallery, with its large central hub and adjacent smaller spaces, offers a space for interactive dialogue, along with quieter moments of solitude and reflection.

In her current body of work Means of Production/Production of Means, textile artist Laura Fischer works with needle and thread to weave delicately patterned cloth directly onto cast concrete forms. Anachronistic in their being and rooted to the ground, they uncompromisingly hold their space. What keeps the work compelling is the palpable tension created by its materiality. The heavyset, masculine forms are offset by the patient and precise femininity of the handmade. Much like the work of Anni Albers, there is a marriage of design and process; the incorporation of geometric forms with the ancient craft of the weave. Fischer calls upon an object-in-process to be her cloister, and in much the same way, it become ours. We move slowly and methodically around these sculptural forms and the space that they dictate. There is a pared-back aesthetic, a simplicity, an essence of “skin and bone,” and yet nothing is lacking. Remove excess and what remains is clarity and strength. Ryan Carrington’s work is also a revery to the labor intensity of the handmade. In his Chalk Line Drawings and Screw Reliefs, Carrington uses a varied selection of materials, namely lowbrow construction products such as nails and contractor’s chalk to create highbrow luxury plaid patterning. The sincerity of his hand asserts his authentic intent: to honor the diligent, loyal and under-appreciated work of the bluecollar worker. By employing the everyday materials and process of the working class to create Burberry-esque icons, Carrington prods at the complex and conflicting rhetoric of labor, class and consumerism.

Laura Fischer Means of Production / Production of Means,

2013 (installation view) Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


Ryan Carrington,

Chalk Line Drawing #9, Bipartisanship, Chalk Line Drawing #8, (left to right)

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

The meticulous linework of Steven Vasquez Lopez similarly

Terry Powers’ large scale canvas works spoof and smirk

honors dedicated labor. As the son of a seamstress and mechanic,

with a tongue-in-cheek sense of play. Powers’ current series

Lopez draws on his family’s history. He pays homage to his mother’s

interrogates the medium of oil painting, employing the deceptive

sewing room, which was piled high with materials and fabric

visual language of trompe

swatches, where he would play and dream. Shelf Life is a series of ink

l’oeil. Ripe sexual innuendos

drawings on paper, representative of fabric swatches. Through his

abound, however Powers

use of line, color, and pattern, Lopez investigates personal artifacts

is clever and his works

through the creation of a stylized iconography.

are rewarding, not just amusing. His composition and expression of the handmade provide the work with enough sincerity and absurdity to leave us both Terry Powers, Untitled, 2012, 60 x 44 in., Oil on canvas

bemused and satisfied.

Artist Kate Rhoades, uses self-deprecating humor as her ‘medium’ to expose the art worlds’ traits of conceit. Her videos Steven Vasquez Lopez, Still Life 001, 2013, 20 x 30 in., Ink on paper

are composed of a myriad of remixed infomercials, DIY and

Utilizing the emblematic corn kernel, Yvonne Escalante introduces

self-help video excerpts, as well as art world news snippets and

the complexities of the military industrial complex in relation to

lectures. The resultant montage is a mash up of contradictory

our food ecosystem, which has disfigured the ancient grain. Her

cues which explore the psyche of the art world. Self Portrait as

work, A Kernel of Truth, melds kernels with bullets, creating a

a YouTube Tutorial; an investigation of the unbounded id; self-

dichotomy of nurture and destruction. Through appropriation of

contrivance at its best. The ego is epitomized in Studio Visit with

form, the sculpture Keeping Time reclaims the traditions of craft,

Cindy Bag, where Rhoades plays out the role of the demanding

transforming relics of industry into handmade objects, each familiar,

and precious educator. Art World Concatenated acts as the ego,

yet intentionally misguided. By manipulating materials and fusing contradictory objects, Escalante exposes the discordant symbols of American ingenuity.

Yvonne Escalante Leftovers

Kate Rhoades Studio Visit with Cindy Bag

2013 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. each Iron

2013 Digital Video, installation view

Photo credit: Susanna Corcoran

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


stringing together a continuum, balancing the alternate desires of the id and super ego. Sara Dykstra creates paintings which impart a contemplative sense of color and space. Subscribing to Alber’s interest in the acute response to materiality, Dykstra listens intently to her medium. Her materials are

Monique Lopez Bruised, Blemish, Unbecoming (left to right)

constructed maquettes and installations that serve as settings for her

Ink, ballpoint pen, and collage on Duralar

paintings. She works from direct observation using everyday materials, such as masking tape, paper, and fabric. Her series Revolving Around You, imparts a sense of vulnerability and fragility. Elements hang

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

Up close we see detail of utilitarian materials; kitchen sponges and scrap fabric. So delicate yet expressive. At first glance, Shelley Monahan’s oils seem to represent earnest family gatherings and interactions. A closer look reveals images that are fragmented by smears and stripes. These visual intrusions imply that “it all ain’t always what it seems.” The “American Dream” is exploited to become an ambivalent portrayal of middle-class America and suburban banality. The source material for Monahan’s paintings are discarded snapshots found at flea markets and garage sales. Drawn to the inane moments and awkward expressions that can be captured objectively

Sarah Dykstra, Revolving Around you #1 to #4 (left to right), 2013 Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

by a camera, Monahan seeks

precariously, and we get a sense of “just holding it together,” hinting at

out these domestic scenes

something more esoteric and ephemeral.

in which the uncomfortable

Monique Lopez bares this thread of fragility. Her Introductions is

interactions are palpable.

installation comprised of both 2D and 3D works. Her paintings depict

There is a playful subversion

abstract forms, saturated with lurid color. These forms appear to grow and spread organically and fervently, referencing her impetus for the work: the endemic manner in which cancer invades the body. Likewise the forms in her 3D sculptural installation, It’s Been Thirteen Years

Shelley Monahan, Smear #2, 2013, 18 x 24 in., Oil on Masonite Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

as the viewer delights in knowing that these private

family album snap shots have been earnestly tampered with. Brittany M. Powell simlarly utilizes photography to capture

and it Continues to Grow, have a life of their own. Organic bodies with

expression, vulnerability, and intimacy. The Debt Project, is an

radiating tendrils. From afar they could be exotic tropical sea creatures.

investigation into debt and the role that it can play in shaping our


identity. Powell

Brittany M. Powell, Debt Portraits, 2013 Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran

Tim Power’s work entitled This Highway Segment Dedicated

asked subjects

to ...” equally exploits the emotive expression of the camera. So

to sit for a

much about these images is simultaneously monumental/anti-

formal portrait

monumental. His photographs depict a series of road signs along

in their home

US Route 95 which commemorate war veterans. One after another

and to respond

in quick quarter mile successions they feel relentless, and thereby

to a series of

lose their poignancy. It feels like one war after another, and it is

question about

until it’s not, and then we wonder what is next. They are so banal

their debt.

these ubiquitous repurposable road signs. The landscape too, is

The outcome

all at once monumental/anti-monumental. The stately Sierra’s are

is a photographic series which is technically and compositionally

breathtaking scenery yet viewed from a car at high speed when the

astute and emotionally raw. There is a tension created through

journey feels relentless or for a trucker driving a weekly route, both

the manner in which Powell and her subjects appear to face debt

the commemoration and the landscape lose their monumentality.

with an unwavering eye; that which we so wish to skirt. The artist

Blake Gibson’s series Inhabit is a multi canvas piece, which

comments, “Debt is publicly enforced and highly stigmatized,

exude the physicality from which it was derived. Inhabit is part of

but is almost always privately experienced. It is in many ways an

a larger body of work in which Gibson lays his canvas on the floor

abstract form without material weight or structure, yet with heavy

and paints fervently from above. In one labor intensive session he

physicality and burden in a person’s everyday life.”

Blake Gibson 6.25.13

Tim Power, This segment of highway dedicated to…, 2013, Digital chromogenic print, 21 1/2 x 17 in.

2013 70 x 60 in. Acrylic and latex on canvas


listens intently to his materials; slathering paint, gorging lines,

their differences in medium, approach, and subject, the

and interweaving trails of movement that carpet the surface with

exhibited works impart a depth, arrived at in part by a patient

chromatic texture.

and dedicated listening. Each artist a conduit; confidently

From minimalist contemplative sculptural installations

stepping aside so as to let the materiality and process unfold.

to trompe l’oeil painting this dozen are representative of the brightest emerging visual arts talent in the Bay Area. Despite

– Justine Topfer, Juror, Introductions 2013

Photo Credit: Susanna Corcoran


jurors MONICA RAMIREZ-MONTAGUT – Associate Director and Senior Curator at MACLA (Movimiento de Art y Cultura Latino Americana) ELI RIDGWAY – Director, Eli Ridgway Gallery JUSTINE TOPFER – Curator, Out of the Box Projects & Project Manager, Public Art Program, San Francisco Arts Commission

staff MICHELLE MANSOUR – Executive Director AMY CANCELMO – Exhibitions and Events Coordinator EMILY DOMAN – Education Coordinator

catalogue production NATALIE CHRISTINE – Designer (

about root division Root Division is a visual arts non-profit located in the Mission District of San Francisco. Root Division’s mission is to improve appreciation and access to the visual arts by connecting personal inspiration and community participation. We provide subsidized studio space to working artists in exchange for their service in creating shared learning opportunities for the community. Artists develop creatively and professionally by teaching art to underserved youth, leading adult education classes, and producing exhibitions that showcase local emerging artwork. By combining multiple opportunities for creative exchange, Root Division cultivates an artistic ecosystem that enriches life throughout the Bay Area. Root Division is supported in part by grants from the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission: Cultural Equity Grants, Grants for the Arts: San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Drusie Davis Family Fund, Zellerbach Family Foundation, W A Gerbode Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, A Better Place Foundation, Art4Moore, and Bill Graham Memorial Fund.

3175 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110




Introductions 2013: One Dozen Bay Area Emerging Artists  

Root Division presents Introductions 2013, our annual juried exhibition of emerging Bay Area artists. Purchase the catalogue online at: htt...

Introductions 2013: One Dozen Bay Area Emerging Artists  

Root Division presents Introductions 2013, our annual juried exhibition of emerging Bay Area artists. Purchase the catalogue online at: htt...