GALE ANTOKAL – “Out of the Blue”


Image copyright by Gale Antokal


This is a photographers’ blog and we do not usually post information about shows with artwork that is not photo based. However, on occasion I will post such information because I feel that understanding other types of art only enhances a photographer’s understanding of the broader world of art.

Gale Antokal’s solo exhibition, “Out of the Blue,” includes 13 pastel drawings on paper detailing images cloaked in mystery, foreboding or uncertainty contrasted with images of heightened calm. This latest body of work demonstrates her deftness with pastel, as well as graphite, flour and ash on paper, capturing motion in an instant moment in time.  

The genesis for the works in this exhibition is the first photographic image Gale Antokal remembers which depicted an approaching apocalypse (a tornado) which left her in astonishment and awe. From that moment on, she has based a majority of her work on moments of foreboding, uncertainty and mystery.  Her early “Nightswimming” series (late 1980s), the drawings of cooking pots (early 1990s) and even the backlit barns of “The Messengers” (2007) were all cloaked in atmospheres of portent and ambiguity.  For the current work, particularly the four works that bear the title of the show “Out of the Blue,” Antokal has used images of calamitous events that appear to have happened out of the blue, leaving its precedence a complete mystery.

In contrast to the intensity of the charged drawings, the drawings of images of seeming calm depict figures who appear mysteriously, out of the blue, unclear as to what was or will be – a calm charged with great frisson.  “Aornos 12” depicts four figures walking out of a dark interior into light so brilliant it is impossible to see towards what they are headed.  Another early memory of Antokal’s was of milk streaming from a broken bottle, cascading down a flight of stairs.  The two works “Cold Tears 1 & 2,” literally freeze this moment in time with its depiction of icicles inexplicably dangling in suspended animation.  The subject matter is clearly enhanced by Antokal’s deft use of dry pastel and the medium of powdered chalk/ash/graphite medium of her invention responsible for creating the misty, dreamy and ambiguous atmospheres in which she places her subjects.

Gale Antokal was born in New York, NY and received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 1984.  She is an Associate Professor in the School of Art & Design at San Jose State University, California.  Antokal held several visiting artist positions and teaching positions including the San Francisco Art Institute, Instructor of Art History at the Lehrhaus Institute, and the American College in Jerusalem.  In 1992 she received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Antokal’s work is included in both private and public collections including the Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA;  The Franklin Company, Los Angeles, CA;  The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA;  MacDonald’s Corporation, San Jose, CA.

DATES: October 23 – November 27, 2010

GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm

The opening reception for the artist will be on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 5-8 p.m.

For further information and/or press photos, please contact the gallery.

By Jim McKinniss

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