Paper rules new exhibit

Even visual artists like to go acoustic now and then, back to the basics. That’s the underlying vibe charging “ArtHaus on Paper,” a show at the Brannan Street gallery through June 23.

“Ninety percent of our artists who are painters do works on paper,” said James Bacchi, director of ArtHaus. Pieces from varied artists make for a wide-ranging exhibition that explores different genres and styles.

San Francisco artist Rex Ray showcases his graphic arts sensibility in a series of untitled panels that ties in a keen observance of a 1950s design aesthetic with his talent for collage. Ray, who counts among his clients Steven Spielberg and David Bowie, mounts his signature paper cutouts (often clipped from pages of design magazines) onto wood panels and seals the pieces with resin.

His abstract works have the warmth of a basement-level recreation room, but with an edge that reserves such wall space for the 21st century subterranean dweller. Think Surface magazine meets Better Homes andGardens.

Meanwhile, Camille Eskell’s deep work continues to compel in “Good for the Goose,” a mesmerizing oil pastel on paper that, as usual, features the artist as subject.

“The purpose of her work is to always have people confront their own fears, using herself as the vehicle for people to do that,” Bacchi says.

In the piece, Eskell is nude, her arms folded around her body, while she peers out at the viewer, her wary physical posture contradicting the coy expression on her face. She is also seated on a goose egg, a major theme that runs through the work.

Jess Johnston’s lush, vivid photographs of lilies and lily ponds in Golden Gate Park, printed on silver gelatin, emanate a gorgeous dream-like landscape.

Countering Johnston would be photographer Astrid, considered by many to be the mother of surrealism. The artist employs a lighting technique known as “solarization,” a process that uses a form of radiation to break down the photographic print. Astrid then layers the images via collage to construct works that are delicate and transparent.

Also in “ArtHaus on Paper” are mixed media pieces by Carole Austin, formerly the curator at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art, and papier-mâché masks from noted sculptor Adam Kurtzman.

ArtHaus on Paper

Where: ArtHaus Gallery, 411 Brannan St., San Francisco

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; closes June 23

Contact: (415) 977-0223 or www.arthaus-sf.com

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