Donald Mitchell, a San Francisco native, has practiced at Creative Growth Art Center since 1986. Mitchell’s work began with dense abstract and cross-hatched fields of black lines or brush strokes that obliterated the paper and hid any trace of the underlying image. Over time, Mitchell slowly uncovered the faces and forms buried in the darkness. His work then became populated by multiple autonomous or overlapping figures whose relationships became both dependent and independent. These figures are consistently depicted with a large round head with simplified facial features on top of a thick body with peg-like arms and legs. Sometimes they are stacked so densely they resemble totems, and other times only a face rises to the surface in a field of dense line work.
Mitchell’s most recent work maintains the foundation of these anonymous figures but has returned to large-scale abstraction with late-career artist’s skill. Mitchell’s work has been exhibited at Collection de l’Art Brut; Switzerland, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Cavin Morris and Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum; Jennifer Lauren Gallery in London; and is included in the permanent collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Judith was introduced to fiber art in 1987 by artist Sylvia Seventy in the Creative Growth studio and produced a remarkable body of close to one hundred sculptures. Crafting armatures from discarded materials, Scott wrapped her forms with knotted cloth, yarn, thread, cord, wire, and paper towels. There was no boundary in terms of material; Judith could incorporate it into her work if she could wrap with it. Judith Scott’s work was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in the most extensive retrospective of her career. She has also shown at Gugging, Austria, the Museum of Everything, London, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, White Columns, New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco. Scott’s work is included in the Museum of Modern Art New York collections, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ABCD Collection, Paris, Museum of American Folk Art, NY, and the Collection de L’Art Brut Lausanne, Switzerland.
Tony Pedemonte constructs armatures of wood and recycled materials that he then wraps in layers of yarn and thread until the structure is nearly concealed. Tony works with high energy and intention – never pausing to consider his next move, just following his intuition. Despite the comparison to Creative Growth artist Judith Scott, Tony’s process and finished work is entirely different from Scott’s (whom he never met), demonstrated by their tactile and enigmatic presence. Like his sculptures, his works on paper begin with a drawn figure that he obscures with frenzied mark-making and sweeping gestures covering his workspace and reaching beyond the paper’s edge. Watching Tony work is like an athletic or performative feat – his practice is grounded by using his body as a tool for expression.
William Scott is a self-taught artist who graphically renders his imagined public and private worlds with remarkable accuracy and meticulous detail. William draws, paints, and re-builds his native San Francisco in search of the elusive “normal life,” one of Baptist-sermon ideals and gleaming, safe, artistically franchised city centers.
San Francisco re-emerges as “Praise Frisco,” a place where William’s public longing for wholesome, peaceful interactions takes place within re-developed idealized neighborhood landmarks. Through a series of drawings and ceramic sculptures, William recreates images of the women who attend his Bayview-neighborhood church, expressing his social longings. The work communicates his desire for a romantic relationship with a “popular, tolerant woman,” one who will share a life with him in his re-imagined city.
William creates a whole and fantastical urban world. With sincere enthusiasm and a highly developed painting and drawing style, the artist questions the hard edge that contemporary city life often creates and offers us a convincing glimpse of an alternative future.
William has had solo exhibitions at White Columns, New York. He has been included in group exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery, London, Berkeley Art Museum, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, The Museum of Everything, London, Gallery Paule Anglim, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, and Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York. William’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Mad Musée in Belgium, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Oakland Museum of California, as well as in the private collections of David Byrne, Cindy Sherman, Chris Ofili, Martin, and Rebecca Eisenberg, among many others.