Adding to the still-expanding lineup of new, warehouse-scale contemporary art galleries opening in downtown’s Arts District, this weekend’s inauguration for Brannan Mason Gallery promises a fresh take on the premise. All of its exhibitions will focus on social, political and environmental issues, with causes and organizations chosen by the artists to receive donations from each sale.
Brannan Mason's debut two-person exhibition comes from artists Etienne Rougery-Herbaut and Samdi, and benefits the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project. CORNERSTONE is not only the gallery’s first show, it is also the U.S. debut for both artists; it presents new works from each as well as an exuberant series of collaborations the two conceived specially for this occasion.
Samdi’s paintings are richly textured, chromatically saturated abstractions and stylized portraits infused with technique and emotion. Rougery-Herbaut’s New York City portrait series highlights the personal dignity and historic bravery of people who have come as immigrants to this country, from all kinds of places for all kinds of reasons.
The artists collaborated on two series of combination works, one in which Rougery-Herbaut’s black-and-white pictures are printed on canvas for Samdi to complete in paint, and another in which Rougery-Herbaut’s images are printed on salvaged vintage glass before receiving the same treatment.
Though the two work in very different styles, mediums and contexts, their pairing has resulted in an important visual and social moment, at which it is fully demonstrated how art can open hearts and minds with greater, more engaging and direct effect than can words alone. This is indeed the model for the entire gallery program, in which people can expect to be educated and inspired to action on some of society’s most dire situations, even while in the midst of enjoying the delightfulness and beauty of contemporary art.
Brannan Mason Gallery, 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown.
Inaugural opening reception Saturday, March 2, 6-9 p.m.; exhibit is open on Saturdays, March 2-30, noon-6 p.m.