Bedtime Stories: From the Crib to the Crypt

Event has passed (Sat Mar 17, 2012 - Sat Apr 7, 2012)
The Shooting Gallery
12 pm - 7 pm
Arts, Gallery
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Shooting Gallery is pleased to present Bedtime Stories, artist Jack Howe’s new solo
show, presented to the viewer as a series of collected stories whose plots are revealed through broken pieces left behind. Bedtime Stories will feature eight large works, ranging between three and seven feet, along with smaller accompanying works. The opening reception is Saturday, March 17th, 2012 from 7-11 pm, and the exhibition is free and open to the public for viewing through April 7th, 2012.

With the reflection “chances are we are conceived, born, and will hopefully die on a
bed,” acting as a frame for this exhibition, Bedtime Stories expands on a series of
mattress pieces the artist created in the 90's that was based on the loss of a young
child, crafted “as if her life story continued on after her death...a created life-history as it were...her loves, ambitions, desires, joys, all enshrined on her body and embroidered into the mattress.” While Howe sold them all he kept two to show. And after showing one last year, Howe decided it was time to make a few new mattress pieces he’d had in mind, “to explore the existential themes that inevitably emerge amongst the rusty coils.”

With a foot in the past and an eye on the future, these narrative pieces relate to current relevant issues as well as to roads traveled...people’s well-lived and well-weathered lives. The works reflect an appreciation of time and decay, with entropy represented by layered detritus of a world past, inhabited by people passed. Each layer encoded with bits and pieces, evidence, clues about a life. The lives of a parent, a friend, a lover, perhaps a child. While some are dark and reflect serious themes, others are humorous, perhaps appearing to be grotesque still-lives of a life run amok.

From the artist:

“I select objects that elicited a response in me and I hope–whether they inspire
nostalgia, or fear, vulnerability or strength, love or loss– that the pieces resonate with the observer.

Though I have a narrative in mind as I construct each piece, I resist offering written
explanations as there is no true narrative. Rather, the life experiences of each observer brings unique perspectives and interpretations to the work which are often more compelling than my own.

As an artist and an inveterate collector of junk I’m happy to do a large-work solo show in San Francisco, so close to my home, so that I might share my most cherished junk through my big bang bedtime stories show. I hope you enjoy it.”
Jack Howe is a self-taught artist. His formal education ended in high school, where rather than exemplary work, he did "expellatory deeds." Beginning as an avid antique collector, Jack became an artist in 1989, after a 7.1 earthquake crashed through his home in Santa Cruz, leaving much of his collection worthless in seconds. Since they had not lost their sentimental value he decided to turn the "debris" into take something old and make something altogether new. Howe’s first show was "The Gluers" at Bedford Regional Arts Center in Walnut Creek, CA in 1993 with George Herms, Wallace Berman, and Satty. Soon after he started showing at The Wier Gallery in Berkeley, with R. Crumb, Stanley Mouse, and Jerry Garcia; as well as at Billy Shire’s "La Luz de Jesus Gallery, on Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, where many of Howe’s works graced the walls for years. Howe has shown at galleries throughout California, in New York, Seattle, Detroit, Scottsdale, Miami, Austin, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong. His work has appeared in major and indie films, and is held in corporate and private collections around the world.

The Shooting Gallery opened its doors in 2003 to the historic Tenderloin district of San Francisco; known for its lively street culture. Growing up in Southern California gave owner and curator, Justin Giarla, a love for everything lowbrow: pop art, street art, outsider art, punk rock album art, comic book art, surf/skate art and hot rod culture. Giarla recognizes how important it is to provide lowbrow artists with a platform for their work, which is exactly what Shooting Gallery has done for nearly a decade.


  1. The Shooting Gallery
    886 Geary St , San Francisco, CA