Collection: Diverse Findings, Selected By Paulette Nichols (online exhibition)

About the exhibition


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Here is a picture by James Heartsill of what looks to be a house, except it has teeth, and there is a sky and trees and the roof looks like it has a hair cut, and a tongue is coming out like a door mat.  Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart wrote a song called My Head is My Only House Unless it Rains, and that's what this mixed media on canvas piece makes me think of.  We walk around in our heads that protect us like little houses.  We inhabit our bodies.  They are our homes, and we may own them, but they are on loan to us.

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This is a ceramic piece by Ann Meade and it looks like a hatted bust with a cat.  I really like the colors here, at least that's what first catches my eye.  Then, after looking at it a bit, I see that the ceramic part of the head looks like it has a nose on the right side of it, making the head facing to the right, so the face looks like it's on the side of the head.  I think that's a little bit cubistic and fun.  The figure just looks happy.  The palette works for me.  
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This untitled Jeremy Burleson piece is joyous.  I believe it's a bunch of people on sailboats.  But you can see through the sails, and you can see through the hulls of the boats.  This is exactly how Superman feels with x-ray vision.    I love the shapes of the sails, kind of Christmas tree-like.  

a music record that has been painted on with grey paint. the blue label is still visible in the center of the object. the curator expands on description of this object in the text directly below.

This is Shostakovich's 5th Symphony a la Christian Vassell.  A long while back,  I was looking online for the most popular symphonies of all time, and the website, I forget which one, recommended Shostakovich's 5th, so I listened to it and liked it.  I could relate to it.  It resonated with me.  I don't always feel like listening to it, but there is a place for it in my little beating heart.  So, when I saw this piece, it was a fun surprise.

Records are usually associated with sound, but when you put paint on the record, it covers up the groove/grooves so that it won't play any more.  It becomes a sculpture.   It's funny to think that if you listened to the symphony it would put you in a grey, dark mood, like the color Christian painted the record.  Maybe Christian's artpiece could be considered visually analagous to the experience of listening to the symphony.   In other words, you could look at the painted record and get the same feeling you would if you listened to the symphony.

a drawing on a photograph print of mountains. the artist has scrawled over the image with crayons and pastels in different colors including red, white, yellow, and green. These colors almost completely obscure the photograph, and make it seem like all the colors of a vibrant sunset have been cast over the mountains.

a photograph of the Himalayan mountains taken on a clear blue sky day as the sun is lighting their snow covered peaks.

Maria Dalisay's untitled piece reminds of pictures of the Himalayas I've seen before.  When I see mountains, I think of how small I am and how they've been here on Earth for such a long time.  I pretty much love landscapes and paint them as part of my own art practice.

an ink jet print of a blue sky that the artist has painted over with a swirl of bright red paint.

Peter Harris Untitled Acrylic on Canvas is intriguing to me because I like the brushstrokes, the change from transparency to opacity, how the blob of red doesn't stay in the rectangle and how there's room for pareidolia like when you see your dog or cat in the shapes of the clouds.  I also like the hazy qualities of the grayish image under the red blob.

a colored pencil drawing on paper of a row of houses under a blue sky with lumpy clouds and a round yellow sun.  The houses are on a slight incline rising toward the right side of the paper. Each house has a long sidewalk leading up to their front doors, and each path is a different color: from left to right - red orange pink and blue sidewalks on bright green grass. The houses from left to right are colored yellow dark blue turquoise and tan.

a painting by Wayne Thiebold of a city block as seen from a roof top. the buildings are painted in bright yellows against the violet and blue of the streets that cut through them.

Audrey Pickering's Untitled dry media piece plays with dimensionality funly, in a fun way, in a playful way, a playful but serious way, like Wayne "Pastry Chef" Thiebaud does in his paintings of San Francisco hills.  I also really like how the sky and grass looks like combed fur, as though these houses could be placed on a large furry animal, or the houses are really designed for fleas and they are on a dog.  The drawing seems painterly to me, probably because of the dark base color poking through, creating shadow everywhere the pencil marks are lighter or more sparse.

a painting of words on a vertical sheet of white paper. the text reads "AC Transit Vs. Muni" which are both transportation options in California.

Jason Powell-Smith's untitled text piece is part of a series of text paintings that remind me of posters advertising sporting events where one team plays against another.  I like to think of AC Transit fighting Muni like gladiators in a giant coliseum, but I suppose that would be rather gruesome and gory.  Maybe they're playing jacks competitively or checkers or who knows.  But it is fun to imagine these contests.  I could also see the people at AC Transit wondering why they must go to battle against the people of MUNI.  Again, this is one in a series, and there are many other noteworthy imagined contests. 

a painting on paper that looks like a map of land and water as seen from above. the left side of the image is mostly painted green and the right side is mostly painted blue.  the artist has drawn various shapes and words in red marker over the background. The shapes include clouds, houses, pumpkins, and cars.

Luis Estrada's untitled piece looks like a mysterious treasure map.   The fact that there's a mystery that's not explained is a lot of fun because then my little imagination can conjecture what is happening.  It makes me think of the Iliad or some such epic voyage even if I don't know if the land mass is a real place or not.  It looks like there might be ships with oars in the water, but I'm reluctant to assume and I'm ok with ambiguity.  I like how I can read on it the names of days of the week as if it were a journal or captain's log.

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Heather Hamann's Teacup Ride is a ceramic scene of a pastoral countryside with a path going through it, and on the path is a platter with a tea kettle and tea cups as if they were taking a ride through the country.    What I like about it is the sense of fun and fantasticality of it and that she made it come to life.  She imagined the impossible and realized it through art, moving it a little bit closer to being possible.  I like to imagine that it's an everyday occurrence to see teacups traveling through a beautiful countryside on their own, having a great time, and maybe if you're polite and nice, they'll let you have some tea.


About the selector

Paulette Nichols is a painter and musician who lives in Oakland, California.  She goes by “Paulette Humanbeing” when performing. Find more on her instagram,  blog, and Saatchi Art

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