Bright and Beautiful, Stephen Joseph, Danae Mattes, and William Keith

Half Dome by Widforss


Bright and Beautiful: Early San Francisco Bay Area Watercolors featuring the Roger and Kathy Carter Collection, July 12- September 13, 2015

This exhibition will showcase the art of watercolor painting as it was practiced in Northern California in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Anchored by the extensive collection put together by Roger and kathy Carter, the exhibition will include works from the 1860's by Juan Wandesforde and William Keith, but most of the paintings will date from the early twentieth century when a  galaxy of watercolor painters was active in California, including Percy Gray, LP Latimer, Chris Jorgensen, Francis McComas, Sydney Yard, and Gunnar Widforss. Many of the artists came from strong traditions of watercolor painting that flourished in England and Sweden. Upon emigration to the United States they settled in the Bay Area where some used their skills intially as newspaper illustrators and teachers. These landscape painters worked in a bright "plein air" aesthetic, infusing credible renditions of actual scenes with their individual personalities through brushstrokes and color strategies. The exhibition will celebrate this neglected corner of American art history. 


The Darker Side of William Keith: Late Paintings, April 19 - September 6

While in Munich in the late 1880's, Keith's landscape paintings began to evolve. He became influenced by the Munich school and the stimmungslandschaft or "mood landscapes," and his paintings became more somber and subjective. The temperament of his paintings also was influenced by his relationship with Rev. Joseph Worcester, minister of the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, his friend and spiritual advisor. Art Historian Alfred Harrison states, "Worcester helped Keith find a new aesthetic in his later, more subjective exploration of spiritual values underlying natural appearences." Keith's post-Munich style was no longer aimed at geographical accuracy. He became an interpreter of nature's spiritual values and not a cataloguer of scientific facts. With this shift, he received criticism from his great friend, John Muir, who was a strong proponent of Keith's early works, with their scientific accuracy and realistic depiction of the mountains, flora, and fauna. In addition to the somber moods embodied in Keith's late landscapes, he also began using tinted varnishes or "glazes" on his paintings, as well as turpentine and linseed oil to darken the surface, giving a "patina of age in emulation of the old masters."

Stephen Joseph: Inside Vasco CavesJuly 12- September 6

Vasco Caves, located in the East Bay Regional Park District, is an uncommonly distinctive place in an uncommonly distinctive region where the physical (geological), biological, cultural and spiritual landscapes converge, each one inseparable from, and influenced by, the other. Beginning in 1995, Bay Area Photographer Stephen Joseph spent the next ten years exploring and documenting the windswept rock outcrops and caves, with an eye towards capturing the landscape as the native people would have experienced it. 

River Passages: New Works by Danae Mattes, May 24 - September 6

Bay Area Artist Danae Mattes creates abstract, mixed media wall and floor objects using clay, paper, and pigment, activiated by water, which symbolically flows through all aspects of her life and art. In a 2013 essay titled "River Diary" she explains, "When standing at a river's edge, the physical beauty of the riverscape surronds and inspires, yet even more so, the 'event' of a river (which includes my participation) is a fullness of experience that, as with other excursions through the landscape, later translates into my work."