Organized pandemonium. Structured chaos. A peaceful riot of color. The halls and walls of Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica will once again be the scene for all these sensations and more when the Fifth Annual 50|50 Show runs from August 23 through September 29, 2013.
The artists for this show were selected by juror Lonnie Lee, the founder and curator of Vessel Gallery in Oakland. Vessel Gallery is at the nexus of Oakland’s burgeoning downtown art scene, where it has, since its opening there in 2010, played a pivotal role in the popularity and success of the Oakland Art Murmur phenomenon.
Of the 66 artists showing this year, the great majority have not participated in a 50|50 previously. In fact, less than 40 percent of the artists who entered the competition were selected to participate. By the time the show opens, the artists will have negotiated a demanding creative process that challenged them to translate and perhaps even reduce their artistic vision to one 6-inch by 6-inch work of art per day for 50 consecutive days. The resultant 3,300 pieces of art provide the viewer with an impressive range of concepts and interpretations including snapshots of California and San Francisco, artistic meditations on color and texture, abstract interpretations, and inanimate objects rendered in new visual ways. Such artistic diversity is equaled only by its geographic intra-state diversity, with some artists coming from as far as San Diego and Truckee.
The show itself is a hybrid of a gallery sale and an exhibition; however, the creative process is the star. This stardom makes demands on the artists. Imagine attempting to create something out of the ordinary every day for 50 days in a row, while keeping it all somehow connected. Artist Jennifer Alpaugh of Pacifica states, “Each year I begin the work, I think, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ It seems unfathomable that I will be able to create 50 unique pieces which are related in theme and material. However, toward the end of those 50 days, I find that I have many more ideas than the 50 tiles allotted to me, and I have a hard time stopping.” Likewise, artist Donna Fenstermaker of Oakland states, “Series are great for me. They become a form of information and image mining that answer questions like: ‘Where can that thing I just discovered or become reacquainted with take me? How many versions are there and which are more important to me than others?’”
As the exhibition’s structure changes from moment to moment, viewers are also required to adjust their personal lens and viewing expectations. It could be argued that because purchases are removed at the time of sale, the installation takes on a dynamic rather than static personality. Certainly, it is undisputed that the remaining works can be seen in a less competitive setting that allocates more space to appreciate a given work.
The 50|50 Show remains on display through Sunday, September 29, 2013, when its Grand Closing occurs from 1 to 5 pm. Sanchez Art Center is located at 1220 Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica, a coastal hamlet just south of San Francisco. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm and by appointment. Admission is free.