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Guns, Paper and Steel

'Tis the season for innovative artistry



Ann Weber's sculpture created from recycled materials is on display at Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael.

Ann Weber’s sculptures have attracted attention and acclaim for their scale, organic shape, intricate design and innovative use of materials. Her medium of choice is cardboard, harvested from Dumpsters, which she cuts into strips and weaves together into large, beautiful, often gourd-like forms. The finished pieces belie their humble origins, looking more like wood carvings, tribal totems or castings than elements from a recycling bin.

From November 5 through December 15, Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael hosts an exhibition of Weber’s sculpture titled Poetry of Structure, which highlights her gravity-defying compositions and intricately constructed objects. Trained as a ceramicist, Weber became interested in creating pieces that had fewer limitations than the works she made on the potter’s wheel—she strove for lightness and unpredictability, while still favoring the handmade appearance of works in clay. Cardboard proved an unlikely but fitting medium, giving her the freedom to experiment and the ability to reveal her skills in a more physically arresting format.

The exhibition at Donna Seager Gallery follows a presentation of Weber’s work by the Oakland Museum of California and complements a selection on view concurrently at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. The gallery will be open during the San Rafael Artwalk on Friday, December 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Donna Seager Gallery, 851 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415.454.4229, donnaseager-gallery.com; 11–6 Tue–Wed and Fri–Sat, 11–8 Thu, closed Sun–Mon

Aperture f/64 Gallery quietly opened its doors along San Anselmo Avenue one year ago with a mission to present a dynamic array of black-and-white fine-art photography. Its name refers to the aperture famously advocated by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Brett and Edward Weston, and several other photographers in the 1930s who united under the moniker Group f/64.

The smallest aperture possible on the large-format cameras used by these pioneering picture-makers, it allowed for crisp, detailed—and, they argued, unbiased—representations of the world around them.

Aperture f/64 Gallery honors the spirit of Group f/64 with a broad spectrum of photographs drawn from the history of the medium, encompassing everything from vintage finds to contemporary works, by artists such as Edgar Angelone, Paul Caponigro, Rolfe Horn, Paul Kozal, Roman Loranc, Unai San Martin and Peter Stackpole.

In November it opens the exhibition Bridging the Bay: Photographs of the Golden Gate and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, a group show highlighting two of the Bay Area’s most recognizable landmarks. The selection includes shots from the bridges’ construction in the 1930s by Stackpole, 1950s-era prints by Ernest Braun and contemporary pictures by Edgar Angelone and Stefan Kirkeby.

The exhibition continues through January 5; the gallery hosts an opening reception on Saturday, November 10.

Aperture f/64 Gallery, 635 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, 415.482.0480; 11–6 Tue–Sat, closed Sun–Mon

From November 29 through January 5, San Francisco’s Catharine Clark Gallery features large-scale sculptures by Marin’s Al Farrow, who transforms the hardware of war into
religious icons.

An accomplished sculptor who once ran his own bronze foundry, Farrow became interested in using guns, bullets and related paraphernalia as potent media for creating beautiful architectural models of churches and mosques and reliquaries. The objects themselves appealed to him because of their art historical heritage as prized symbols of religious devotion; using a nontraditional medium in their creation allowed him to visually and conceptually address the enduring interconnectedness of religion and violence.

“The atrocities committed in acts of war absolutely violate every tenet of religion, yet rarely do religious institutions speak against the violations committed in the name of God,” Farrow has said.

“In my constructed reliquaries, I am playfully employing symbols of war, religion and death in a facade of architectural beauty and harmony.”

Also on view during the period, in the gallery’s video project room, is a new video piece by John Slepian titled Caged.

Catharine Clark Gallery, 150 Minna St., San Francisco, 415.399.1439, cclarkgallery.com; 10:30–5:30 Tue–Fri, 11–5:30 Sat, closed Sun–Mon

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