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Sept 23rd 2010 show

Bay Area Abstract Art:  A Contrast in Styles                   

at Chroma Art Design

Thursday, September 23rd to Friday, November 5th, 2010


Curator Geoffrey Smith of has been working diligently with veteran Bay Area artist Takeshi Nakayoshi to assemble a diverse yet complementary group of contemporary Bay Area artists, to organize solo and group shows for these artists, and to help market their works. “Bay Area Abstract Art:  A Contrast in Styles” is the fourth show at Chroma Art Design for this group. This show includes regulars April Hankins, Mi Jung Penzien, Takeshi Nakayoshi, and John Smiddy plus guest artist Gina Werfel, from Davis, California.

This show presents a spectrum of styles ranging from Takeshi Nakayoshi’s large oil on canvas bold brush abstractions influenced by Diebenkorn and the colors of Matisse, to April Hankins new smaller pencil drawings with intricate abstract designs.  For some, John Smiddy’s finely worked and reworked acrylic on board images evoke thoughts of micro structure in nature and string theory in particle physics. Mi Jung Penzien’s paintings are the most reminiscent of abstract expressionist work, with deep psychological undertones, thoughts and feelings. Guest artist Gina Werfel’s transition in recent years from semi-abstract Cezanne-like landscapes to fully abstract works was highly successful. The representational imagery is gone but nature still underlies her work. The colors are bright and well balanced with delicious combinations of opacity and translucency. The term impressionistic abstractions could be used to describe her recent paintings.

April Hankins  In earlier shows at Chroma, April exhibited her small and medium sized acrylic on canvas works. In this show April explores a different approach to her art-making in intimately scaled works on paper.  Layering drawing over paint over drawing this selection of art work is built through experiment and finished upon discovery.  Elegance is not found in the odd searching of these intimate, particular works, but a freshness born of risk indicative of new direction is.  After maintaining studios in both New York and San Francisco, April is in the process of moving back to live and work full time in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Takeshi Nakayoshi’s latest oil paintings have recently transitioned back to a fully abstract style after a two year figurative phase (examples of his figurative work were included in another show at Chroma Art Design earlier this summer). In his work and life Takeshi is continuously and heavily influenced by the works of other highly creative individuals, such as most recently the writer Tennessee Williams, the filmmaker Antonioni, the American musician Dave Brubeck and the African musician Fela Kuti. Throughout his career Takeshi has been particularly inspired by the works of Matisse and Diebenkorn. He strives to create a balance of color, line and form…a kind of harmonious poetry in paint. In Takeshi’s own words …”I immerse myself in the interaction of paint and other fluids, the texture, finish, and pigmentation. I create improvisational poems of life, simultaneously bold and subtle, by layering my feelings on canvas of our exotically aesthetic world.”

Mi Jung Penzien’s work can be characterized as emotional, introspective and expressionist.  Through her paintings she strives to make statements on the human condition, the contradictions and dualities in life, and the inner struggles we all encounter.

John Smiddy’s oil on wood abstract paintings are highly detailed and painstakingly crafted. They are carefully worked and re-worked, where paint is added, scraped and removed, sanded, re-painted, scribed and scored until the desired artistic objectives are finally achieved.

Gina Werfel  Natural forces serve as a starting point for Werfel's paintings about space and energy. The paintings are about a search for balance between chaos and structure. They speak about boundaries—between representation and abstraction, between man-made and natural. Improvisation is at the root of her practice—responses to the way a particular color or mark leads to another decision in the painting. Gina Werfel is a Professor of Art at UC Davis, where she served as Chair of the Art and Art History Department from 2000 to 2005. She exhibits in both New York and San Francisco.

More detailed biographies and artists statements are available at the show location at Chroma Art Design or on request from the curator.

Opening Reception:   September 23rd  2010   6pm to 9pm

Curator:   Geoffrey Smith     925-788-7361

Chroma Art Design  415-552-9661

218 Mississippi Street

San Francisco, CA 94107



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