Embark Gallery Presents “Rule No Rule”

8 Emerging Artists Showcase Unruly Creativity Encouraged by Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs

Joseph Ferriso. Spiral Doorway, 2017. Acrylic on plywood.

Joseph Ferriso. Spiral Doorway, 2017. Acrylic on plywood.

The West Coast art scene is famous for breaking, and re-making the rules. The same way that the advent of abstraction disrupted numerous art historical traditions, interdisciplinary art making blurs and shifts the expected boundaries of each medium. This show embodies the freedom and fluidity of our local art institutions, showcasing joyously uninhibited work from the “Wild West.” While paying homage to precedents set in the 1960s and ‘70s by the folks of Ferus gallery, environmental land artists, and the Californian light and space movement, these artists reinvent the rules of presentation, technique and concept, with distinctly contemporary results.

Amy Cella (SFSU) Inspired by the frontier mentality of the formative Pacific Northwest where communities felt they could pick and choose the best of the past without the hindrance of the weight of history, Cella’s work meditates on the ascendancy of the so-called “post-medium age” in contemporary art practice.

Yangyi Chen (SFAI) Chen pushes tactility and three-dimensionality into her photographic work, creating illusions with unexpected materials that redefine our sense of familiarity with the medium.

Joseph Ferriso (Stanford) Ferriso presents Spiral Doorway, an open ended sculpture with no fixed orientation or scale. Bearing no loyalty to the wall, floor or ceiling, this work represents freedom from restraint. As it’s reworked with every presentation, Ferriso also breaks conventional rules of exhibition and archive.

Sean Howe (Stanford) Howe makes paintings that fall somewhere between the classifications of figuration and abstraction. Using cues from geological and ecological sciences, and automatic drawing to push form, color, and texture, Howe creates abundant worlds with vast networks of referents that defy categorization.

Sean Howe. Swirly Gates, 2017. Gouache and gesso on plywood.

Sean Howe. Swirly Gates, 2017. Gouache and gesso on plywood.

Charmaine Koh (CCA) Hybridity is key to Koh’s work, which draws upon diverse influences, from anime, to family photographs, to computer color gradients. As an artist living in between borrowed origins, cultures, and countries, Koh playfully mixes seemingly disparate elements on the canvas so that they neatly co-exist.

Ans Li (SFAI) Li’s work explores the relationship between digital and analogue techniques, highlighting the failings of both while refusing to belong to either. Without ever using a camera, Li digitally designed her pieces, then printed them out on Polaroid film with a “digital-to-analogue” tool, then scanned them back to a digital form. The colors and geometry may appear retro, but Li’s process is oriented to technologies of the future.

Emily Meisler (SFAI) Exploring the natural and organic through sculptural forms, Meisler juxtaposes her subject matter with industrial materials like cement and wire that further abstract the original inspiration. This disparity highlights environmental concerns, though the sculptures themselves ironically appear extra-terrestrial, existing in a mysterious space between the naturally occuring and the manmade.

Leslie Samson-Tabakin (SFSU) Samson-Tabakin presents Enough Is Not Enough, a sprawling, text-based installation that acts as a mind map, encompassing both stream of consciousness and collected statements. Based on the concept of tautology (the idea of saying the same thing twice in different wording), this time- and site-specific work suggests that perhaps in our tireless search for clarity, new direction and originality, we are simply repeating ourselves.   

This show was juried by Elise Boivin, CEO and Founder of ArtlyOwl.com

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Embark Arts offers exhibition opportunities to current and recently graduated Masters of the Fine Arts students in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide a space for an engaged community of artists, curators and scholars, and we aim to expand the audience for up and coming contemporary art. The juried exhibitions are held at our gallery in San Francisco at the historic Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.


Press Previews by appointment.

Opening Reception: Friday, March 23, 2018. 6-9pm.

Hours: 1-6pm every Thursday-Saturday from March 24 - April 28, 2018.

Media Contact:
Angelica Jardini
Curatorial Director


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