On Friday evening, 11/10 I parked in a lot on Valencia St., just past 14th Street. With the helpful direction of art associate, Hope Bryson, at Fouladi Projects Art Gallery at 1803 Market Street, I walked up the hidden bike path and crossed Octavia, drawn by the art in the window and ambient lighting. A handsome couple were headed in the same direction. This was an art reception with buzz. I could feel it already.
Sitting at a long farm table was tarot card reader and gallery assistant, Ginger Murray, offering free readings to those brave enough. A nice touch, since the theme for this opening featured an impressive body of work by artist, Russell Tyler aptly named “Fortune Teller”. This is his first solo show with Fouladi Projects running from November 9th through December 15th.
I sought out and chatted with Russell Tyler and his lovely wife, Trudy Benson, who both reside, have their studios and paint in Brooklyn, NY. “Trudy is an accomplished painter in her own right”, according to Holly Fouladi, Gallery owner, “Do you know they met at Pratt Institute when they were both in school.” What a charming story, 2 painters, man and wife, living their dream. This was a 4 day trip for them, to San Francisco for the opening; and we welcomed them with lovely weather that had just turned a little cooler that evening.
Splashed along the main gallery walls were Russells’ works of art in bright bold, pops of color and texture, almost comic booky. Not unlike himself, hip and handsome, cool, bespectacled & approachable. All of his art displayed were larger works demonstrating a mash-up feeling of pop art, abstract expressionism, with each evoking a definitive feeling or spirit. He paints in a raw state, eschewing brushes for use of paints directly onto the canvas. Russell said, “I connect the lines”, indicating his approach to the structure of the peice and said, “Sometimes I have a vision and sometimes I begin and find the vision”.
Which brings me to an important philosphy in life and art ? “Is life a circle or a line?” Or is a line a circle? An ongoing debate in my own art class!
The piece I liked most, I photographed. 2 hands reaching toward the world with a third eye, a spider web, a cloud, woven string through fingers, items flying. Vivid pastels and primary blues, chartreuse, yellows brightly intertwining. Rough and childlike with mature themes. There is definite intention in Russells’ work. I asked Russels if he paints in only this style and he stated, “I have many styles”, which has me wanting to see his prior work and watch him closely in the future to see where this patently talented artist takes us.
Most noticibly is Russell’s committment to his work.You can see the progression of the paintings in this series. I took a guess at which pieces came first and confirmed that I was right with his wife Trudy, who is Rusells’ greatest fan. The last two works in the series nearly lept off the wall with their confirmation of the fortune telling theme, evoking scenes from our dream life or the idea that perhaps we can take our own future and define it or in fact design it, much like Isabelle Allende does with words. With his final pieces in the series, it seems he reached a refinement and cleansing and completion of the theme, which is sure to take Russell to his bright future with his imagined “Fortune Teller” collection. Russell received his MFA from Pratt and has been widely exhibited on the Right Coast, Canada and now the ‘City by the Bay.’
Serving champagne and wine and a custom cake with a likeness of Russells’ painting, added an entertaining food and art twist to the reception. The back room featured Objects D’art and ‘one of’s’, of other signifigant painters as well as mixed media pieces and two life size leaning cartoon tigers reminding me of “Snagglepuss” of the 60’s.
Our gracious and beautiful hostess and gallery owner, Holly Fouladi was the co-owner of a gallery just a few blocks away for over 10 years when she decided to venture out on her own. Open just about 6 months, Fouladi Projects is new and already attracting an array of clientele, from San Francisco’s hip and artcentric, art enthusiasts & art bloggers like myself, collectors, young professionals, and of course, other artists!
Holly’s choice of gallery artists feature a mix of up and coming and known artists. I love that she is bringing artists from other areas to expose and share in the sophisticated San Francisco art scene. Holly said she chooses art that moves her keen eye and really gets to know the artists, whether emerging or known artists, it is the whole story behind the artist and their art that makes Hollys’ approach on point and current. Keep an eye on the experienced gallerist, Holly Foouladi, her warm, hip, happening and welcoming gallery and make sure you sign up for her email notifications for upcoming receptions at www.fouladiprojects.com. Hope to see you at the next opening, I’ll be there!