Market Street Gallery: ReArt, Co-Sponsored By Scrap (Not Crap)

Something unusual was happening at the opening reception for ReArt at Market Street Gallery on Friday night: people were having a really good time. Multi-generational packs of visitors were smiling and laughing and pointing at works on the crowded gallery's walls. Mike Kimball, Director of the gallery's MesArts program was mingling and chatting good naturedly with guests. All this before the wine was poured!

29 of 72 submissions using recycled materials were selected for this show by Paul Fresina, director of the Artist in Residence Program at San Francisco Recycling & Disposal, Inc., Christina La Sala, from the Lab Gallery and Steven Wolf of Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

ReArt is co-presented by Scrap, the 501(c)(3) Scroungers' Center for Reusable Art Parts. San Francisco residents and businesses are encouraged to donate their clean old stuff that could be used as found materials for artwork. And yes, you'll get a tax deduction. Museums, neighborhood centers, senior groups, summer camps, theater groups and childcare centers use Scrap materials.

Three of the artists featured in the show (Claudia Chapline, Mike Farruggia, Michael Kerbow) are alumni of the prestigious program at the dump. Don't turn your nose up, it's as hard to get into as an Ivy League school. For the sixty to eighty annual applicants there are only four to eight slots (Harvard's Fall 2007 acceptance rate was 9%). Artists are selected by a discerning bunch including Catharine Clark and Richard Newirth, outgoing Director of the San Francisco Arts Commission. Sixty-eight artists have participated in the program since it was founded by Jo Hanson in 1990.

The most successful pieces in the ReArt show are the ones that don't take themselves too seriously, giving a wink to the viewer and a nod to their humble origins. Jerry Chatham's schmaltzy but endearing bridge view called Alcatraz, Daybreak at The Gate employs rock, glass, cable, plastic, metal and wood. Michael Kerbow's Code Red suggests that Harvey lost his foot in Brisbane. The oversize clown-nose-red rabbit's foot fob is attached to a circus ring hoop loaded with hundreds of lost keys. Hilary William's soft sculpture Ferd Jardine is a two-headed, fourlegged lovable small person monster complete with a bustle.

Be careful not to miss the best piece in the show. You might think you're looking through a fun house mirror when you see Mike Farruggia's Door Table. Covered with postcards and brochures advertising all things repurposed, you'll think it's just a piece of furniture unless you notice it at the very end of the 29 item exhibit checklist. About 24" of the top and bottom of the door were removed and reattached at 45 degree angles, hinges and rubber stop still attached. The joins connecting the three pieces are so smooth you have to look twice.

This show $40-$5500

June 4th - June 29th, Market Street Gallery, 1554 Market St., San Francisco, Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., noon-8 p.m. Thurs., Phone: 415-290-1441