Oliveira’s etchings on view at Crown Point

A striking tribute to the work of celebrated Bay Area artist Nathan Oliveira, who died Nov. 13, is on view at Crown Point Press gallery, where he worked for many years.

Oliveira came to prominence in San Francisco during the Beat Generation period, between the late 1940s and early ’50s when a swirling creative milieu swept The City.  

Along with painting and sculpture, he explored printing, particularly lithography. Though abstract expressionism — the style that dominated American painting at the time — influenced him, he remained adamantly devoted to figuration.

He fused the two, however, creating a unique blend.

In the early 1990s, Crown Point founder Kathan Brown invited Oliveira to work in etching at the gallery. He was reluctant, thinking that finding the energy necessary to learn the new language might not be worth the effort. But Brown kept after him until he finally decided to try it.

Oliveira took to etching almost immediately, feeling a sense of freedom he didn’t expect. The ability to experiment with the language, the varied ways of working with it, and the importance of the relationship with printers brought him to a new phase in his artistic life.

The gallery tribute consists of a selection of four pieces of work done over the years at Crown Point.  

Imagination, the way Oliveira etched, and color all play integral roles in the works’ success.

The pinkish orientation in the work comes from his love of the Southwest: “Color is like food,” Oliveira said. “You have an appetite for certain colors.”

In “Rocker 07,” a crudely drawn figure is set against a flat and solid glowing orange background. The contrast is striking. Although the figure’s outline is clear, its interior consists of quickly applied strokes and splashes throughout, with tiny, undefined forms in certain areas.

There doesn’t seem to be a particular reason for lack of definition in the body’s interior, nor any logic for contrasting background. But together they are intriguing, and give the piece an appealing, mysterious essence, a quality that runs throughout Oliveira’s work.

IF YOU GO

Tribute to Nathan Oliveira


Where:
Crown Point Press gallery, 20 Hawthorne St., San Francisco

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; closes Jan. 12

Contact: (415) 974-6273; www.crownpoint.com

artsbooksentertainmentFine ArtsNathan Oliveira

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

Azikiwee Anderson of Rize Up Bakery pulls and twists sourdough into shape on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s Rize Up Bakery serving up sourdough with a call to action

Azikiwee Anderson wakes up most mornings just before dawn to start cooking… Continue reading

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Most Read