Expressive animal kingdom

Like the well-worn bind of a leather-bound copy of “Moby Dick,” artist Felix Macnee’s new collection is as familiar as it is innovative.

The installation, titled “Kingdom Animalia,” is part of a group show called “Flood” at the Hayes Valley Market that also features sculptures by Paul Spencer and collage works from former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez.

For his part, Macnee delivers works that beautifully blend a nostalgic and romanticized longing for the sea with strictly modern details. They’re Herman Melville and David Foster Wallace at the same time.

Harkening back to the days of the beloved Dewey Decimal Classification System, Macnee reinvents the prized system to operate on a more whimsical and esoteric level.

“What I was trying to do is make something that’s pretty obvious and stupid in some ways,” he says. “How would Noah categorize all these different elements? ‘E’ is for the elephants, ‘G’ is for the gazelles. One of the motivations is to make it simple.”

The exhibit’s grand introduction is “Kingdom Animalia”; the collection’s largest piece admirably sets the stage for the show’s subsequent pieces. A large white whale occupies half the canvas, the numbers one through five etched into the animal’s side.

Macnee’s signature polyhedrons fill another half of the canvas; a different animal occupies each panel of the geodesic dome, presumably illustrating the contents of Macnee’s modern take on the ark.

Then, pulling in the intentions of the classification system, a work titled “Elephant” is labeled at the top with an “e” that is not the work of a stoic typewriter; rather, it is handwritten.

Macnee’s canvases, rather than abiding by conventional rules of being square or rectangular, instead mirror the dimensions of the cross-sections of a boat’s hull.

His works alternate between being long and skinny, or in different angular shapes.

Macnee’s use of canvas, however, is so natural, the shape isn’t what grabs the eye — it comes more as an interesting afterthought.

Also inspiring the installation’s nautical theme are fragments of architectural renderings culled from dated texts mapping elegant diagrams of stress dynamics of ships and boats; renderings that now live on yellowed, brittle paper.

Meanwhile, Macnee’s color scheme, a soft, mossy green, is warm and almost cozy.

“The greens give the feeling of the bottom of a swimming pool,” the artist says. “It’s artificial, but not that artificial … that particular green is one that I just really like, and it made me really nostalgic for San Francisco.”

Flood

Where: Hayes Valley Market, 580 Hayes St. (at Laguna Street) San Francisco

When: Show closes Sunday

Tickets: Free

Contact: www.felixmacnee.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Parents and students line up socially distanced before the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
‘It’s a beautiful sight’: The first students return to the classroom

San Francisco’s youngest public school students stepped into classrooms for in-person learning… Continue reading

File
Latest Breed nominee for Police Commission moves forward

Immigration attorney Jim Byrne clears Board of Supervisors committee

San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (26) starts against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants finish sweep of Rockies behind DeSclafani’s scoreless outing

Even with fans back at Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants pitchers have… Continue reading

Kindergarten teacher Chris Johnson in his classroom at Bryant Elementary School ahead of the school’s reopening on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD students are going back to the classroom

After more than a year of distance learning, city schools begin reopening on Monday

Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>
Streamlined SF film festival focuses on family features

SFFILM Director of Education Keith Zwölfer finds movies that appeal to kids

Most Read