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Bundle at Triple Base Gallery

Women invoke the sprit of summer in a group show at Mission art lab

Friday night marks the opening of Bundle at Triple Base Gallery, a group exhibition featuring the work of four women: Tania Bedford, Sera Beak, and Sarah Grierson -- all Californians -- and Alda Rose, who hails from Iceland. In keeping with Triple Base's communal sensibilities, this show possesses a warm, inviting sense about it, as cultivated by the work itself.

As the distinct visual standout here, Tania Bedford has filled Triple Base's storefront window with an army of the small dolls, fetishes, and shamanistic pieces she's been creating frantically for the past ten to fifteen years. Meticulously embellished with a wild assortment of beads, trinkets, and scrap materials, Bedford's objects are often fashioned after various cultural source materials, such as the plant fetishes used ceremonially by the Otomi tribe of Veracruz.

Working within traditional tribal shapes, Bedford re-contextualizes them to suit her own imagination, adorning their leather grounds with fruit and vegetable themes -- apple, orange, banana, and chili pepper gods and goddesses, among others, make up the extended family. Bedford has not studied formally, but has instead developed her sense of color, form, and material through sheer obsession, often working late into the night creating her own personal mythology through these characters.

Like Bedford, Sera Beak has no academic artistic training, having instead graduated from Harvard Divinity School, where she received her master's degree. Her private prayer journal is exhibited here, as begun following her grandfather's death; untamed in format and execution, its freely associative snippets of text are collaged upon illustrations cut from advertisements, transforming pop imagery into personal prayer. Beak credits the book as containing "the first prayers having come from myself, not prescribed to me." One feels a bit uncomfortable when flipping through its tenuously crafted pages, as its contents are so obviously uncontrived -- Beak allowed for the book's display following much deliberation, though its sensitivity coincides especially well with Bedford's own spiritual concerns.

Sarah Grierson and Alda Rose make more graphic contributions, as Grierson replaces the drawn line with that of the sewing machine and Rose's prints are neatly executed from many individual screens. A recent graduate of Iceland's Academy of Art's printmaking department, Rose has an obvious mastery of the multiple-process print, which only strengthens the melee of religious and animal iconography, erotic imagery and fantastical whimsy that inhabit her scenes. Grierson's sewn panels describe children's memories, as woven permanently and evenly into fabric by the machine-sewn line. Rose and Grierson offer a sense of balance to the room, injecting their own youthful jouissance into the mix.

Triple Base is just that -- a true mix of people and projects forming a very distinct environment, hovering happily on the perimeter of San Francisco's more established, commercial art scene. Eschewing the dominant "white cube" mentality of gallery operation, co-conspirators Oliver Halsman Rosenberg and Clint Taniguchi have instead created a true creative laboratory, combining studio space with a gallery outfit to form a place where people, ideas, and objects converge. Rather than setting out to decorate the world with art, Rosenberg and Taniguchi believe in celebrating art as an entity rife with imprecision, imperfection, and worn edges -- with humanity itself.

Bundle at Triple Base Gallery
Exhibit runs through August 24th 2005
Opening on Friday, June 24th from 6-10 pm
with special tea ceremony presented by John Oda