More very good news!

My piece, "Boeuf sur le Toit," was selected by noted gallery owner Jack Fischer for the Juror's Prize in the BLUETS exhibition at GearBox Gallery in Oakland, California. I am both humbled and proud that this piece was selected from among the work of 39 invited artists. This is an enormous honor. In addition to bragging rights, it means that I will be featured as a Guest Artist in a future GearBox Gallery exhibit (sometime in 2018).

Boeuf sur le Toit

Boeuf sur le Toit

Progressive Happy Hour Art Walk this week!

Reminder! "Summer of Love - Flower Power Happy Hour" Art Walk on July 20

Two of my largest paintings, each six feet square (1.83 meters square), are currently on display at two venues in the Union Square area of San Francisco through approximately Labor Day. They are my third and fourth exhibitions in ArtSpan's Art-in-Neighborhoods program.

At the hotel Adagio: Gerald

At the hotel Adagio: Gerald

At the Mosser Hotel: Vicinity

At the Mosser Hotel: Vicinity

An especially social way to see them in person is to join the "Summer of Love - Flower Power Happy Hour" Art Walk on July 20, when five venues will have a rolling happy hour from 4:30 until 9:00 pm. I'll be at the Hotel Mosser from 4:30 until about 5:45, then at the Hotel Adagio from 6:00 to 8:00. I can tell you from personal experience that the Mosser Hotel and its restaurant, The Keystone, put on a great spread, and I expect the other venues will, as well. The event is free and does not require reservations. I hope to see you there!

All details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/artspan-flower-power-happy-hour-art-walk-tickets-34490424789

 

So much news

It's been a few months since I updated the blog and Latest Work gallery, and rather a lot is going on! Here are the headlines, and you can scroll down for further information on each:

1. My work won a substantial cash prize.

2. My two largest paintings, currently on display, are part of the "Summer of Love - Flower Power Happy Hour" Art Walk on July 20.

3. MUNI? Maybe.

4. Looking ahead: Open Studios

5. Where to see the work Right Now!


1. Cash Prize

I was successful in an art competition I entered and received my first-ever ridiculously oversized June 22! (One tick off the bucket list.)

LA VICTORIA Brand foods is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year with special dinners along the Pacific Coast (San Diego, LA, San Francisco, and Portland). Each event features a stellar four-course meal, live music, and art from local artists. I applied to be one of the San Francisco finalists and was notified two or three weeks ago that I had been shortlisted. Finalists were asked to create a new piece featuring the LA VICTORIA brand, within the theme of “Modern West Coast Lifestyle.”

Since California's history as an agricultural powerhouse meets its modern cosmopolitan identity in San Francisco foodie culture, I chose to use the setting of the San Francisco Ferry Building marketplace to depict my spin on Modern West Coast Lifestyle. It was a fun piece to create (though more detailed than I quite anticipated).


2. "Summer of Love - Flower Power Happy Hour" Art Walk on July 20

Two of my largest paintings, each six feet square (1.83 meters square), are currently on display at two venues in the Union Square area of San Francisco through approximately Labor Day. They are my third and fourth exhibitions in ArtSpan's Art-in-Neighborhoods program.

At the hotel Adagio: Gerald  

At the hotel Adagio: Gerald
 

At the Mosser Hotel: Vicinity

At the Mosser Hotel: Vicinity

An especially social way to see them in person is to join the "Summer of Love - Flower Power Happy Hour" Art Walk on July 20, when five venues will have a rolling happy hour from 4:30 until 9:00 pm. I'll be at the Hotel Mosser from 4:30 until about 5:45, then at the Hotel Adagio from 6:00 to 8:00. I can tell you from personal experience that the Mosser Hotel and its restaurant, The Keystone, put on a great spread, and I expect the other venues will, as well. The event is free and does not require reservations. I hope to see you there!

4:30-6:30pm
The Mosser Hotel - 54 4th Street, SF, CA 94103

Featuring ArtSpan Artists: Hemali Acharya, Robert Howard, Sophia Lee & Matthew Priest

5-7pm
CounterPulse - 80 Turk Street, SF, CA 94102

6-8pm
Hotel Adagio - 550 Geary Street, SF, CA 94102

Featuring ArtSpan Artists: Denise Dmochowski, Robert Howard, Sophia Lee, Natalia Lvova & Matthew Priest

6-8pm
The Marker Hotel - 501 Geary Street, SF, CA 94102

7-9pm
PianoFight - 144 Taylor Street, SF, CA 94102

All five venues are within walking distance (0.7 miles total area). The full art walk can be completed in 15 minutes, but you'll want to stick around for more at each happy hour event. Click here for a map: http://bit.ly/2r02wsD


3. MUNI? Maybe.

I've thrown my hat in the ring to make artworks for the interior of San Francisco city buses in 2018. The program seeks to pair art and poetry through a 25-year old national program called Poetry in Motion®. The application required a visual interpretation of the Diane di Prima poem shown below. As someone who has sung thousands of poems and set a couple dozen to music, I'm intrigued by the possibilities of this new avenue of expression.
 


4. Looking ahead: Open Studios

SF Open Studios continues to grow and will encompass five weekends this year. I will be exhibiting Weekend 3, October 28 & 29, at 500 De Haro Street (cross street: Mariposa). Save the date!


5. Where to see the work Right Now!

The central place for information about the work is right here at www.PriestDesign.com, including galleries of representative work, information on how to acquire the work (including links to my online shops), and means to contact me.

The most up-to-date information appears on my Facebook page, where I share snapshots of work in progress and news items like everything contained in this email in an ongoing manner as things arise: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewPriestFineArt/

Younger and more digital friends have told me to use Instagram as well, and I have made that a goal for July. I'll send information about that effort in a later blog post and on Facebook.

Meditations on fatherhood

I'm not a father, and I'm pretty unlikely to become a father at this point (I turn 45 in a few weeks). But I have a father and I am a godfather to a toddler boy. A number of my friends are fathers. The Christian winter holidays (Christmas, Holy Innocents, Epiphany, and the story of the flight into Egypt) and an icon I saw in a church serving as a concert venue, along with all these other elements, have me thinking about fatherhood.

Joseph, an oil sketch on canvas, 16x20 in / 40x50 cm

The image above is the first iteration of this meditation, and it reflects my lifetime of hearing Christian stories. Called Joseph, after the father of Jesus, it attempts to capture the certain affection Joseph felt for his son at the same time as he considers the implausible stories he's been told, that his son is literally the son of God and will be a leader of all the faithful. On top of all that (as if it were not enough), he worries about the threat to his own life and the life of his family (wife and son) shown him in a dream. Fatherhood is complex, but at its core, emotional.

Joseph 2, an oil sketch on canvas, 16x20 in / 40x50 cm

The second meditation in this series is above, called Joseph 2 for now. Again, the core of the experience is joyful and affectionate, but the father remains concerned about safety and protecting his family. His young charge requires education and rearing. Fatherhood is joy and responsibility.

Joseph 3, an oil sketch on canvas, 16x20 in / 40x50 cm

This father continues the themes of the other two pieces, but captures a moment of heartache. While the child might simply be asleep, he might also be quite ill. This older child has greater independence from his father than the infant or toddler, but the boundless possibility of the tiny child narrows as aptitudes and interests become apparent; the child is becoming himself, regardless of the father's wishes and dreams for him. Fatherhood is grief.

Joseph 4, an oil sketch on canvas, 16x20 in / 40x50 cm

The fourth piece in this series (and the last at this moment) takes the grief to its ultimate extreme. The figures are based on Walter Hancock's WWII memorial sculpture in Philadelphia's 30th Street Station: Angel of the Resurrection. This piece again reflects my lifetime of hearing Christian stories. When Jesus is murdered by the state, the varying accounts tell us his mother was present, but by Jewish custom, Joseph would have been expected to take charge of his son's lifeless body.

Other meditations during the creation of this image include fathers supporting their children (literally, financially, etc) after mistakes and misfortunes. Fatherhood is a lifelong undertaking.

I don't pretend to fully understand fatherhood nor to have captured it utterly faithfully. I feel like I am taking a big risk sketching out my thoughts alongside these images, but I am also learning to embrace vulnerability as part of my creative vocation. I would very much appreciate any thoughts you might have, gentle reader, in the comments.

New year, no promises

It's a new year, and while some might be inclined to make resolutions and plans, not me. I'm more interested in hopes, aspirations, and taking steps forward, wherever forward might turn out to lead. I'm also a bit superstitious, and tend to find personal plans to be a bit like birthday wishes: you keep them to yourself or they won't come true.

But on the theme of hope: I finally entered this year of painting with a small series (six as of this writing, may grow larger yet) of painted variants, literally on HOPE. Much of what is going on (especially in this country) is highly troubling, so it is hope that keeps me working.

A quick note on technique: Using an oil-based marker, I inscribe the letters on the canvas, then stain it with transparent acrylic paint, because I find little more daunting than a white canvas. The color of the acrylic paint may be reflected in the final painting, or it may be completely obliterated and forgotten as the piece evolves.

So I haven't been much of a blogger...

It's been seven months since my last blog post, so I would not be disappointed to learn I don't have many followers. They have been very productive months for my work, however. I feel like I am homing in on my voice as a painter. I made a concentrated series of a dozen "abstract" pieces (all 30"/76cm to 36"/91cm square), dwelling with the idea of pure art: paintings that have no reference beyond themselves, and so they depict nothing but paintings. These were critical to my ongoing development in painting, and the final piece in that series (depicted below) unlocked a manner of working that feels very personal and very proper to me. (continued below image)

Kindred (oil on canvas 36"/91cm square) 2016

I continue to use all the techniques from that series (color harmonies, mixing from primaries, a kind of controlled smear, and almost exclusive use of painting knives) in my most recent work. Generally figurative in composition, these latest pieces feel more honest than depictions. For example, the very recent image below is not a painting of flowers, but a painting first: one that happens to be inspired by flowers. Come to the show and sale November 12 and 13 to see and talk more about it (show info on home page).