Last night I attended Bunnie Reiss and Monica Canilao’s ‘Little Old One’ art opening at Lopo Gallery in San Francisco. It was the first time I had seen either of these artists work in person, and I was pretty smitten to see their visions come to life in real space. The confines of the world wide web totally didn’t do their work justice.
I went with my friends Jen Prather and Meg Workman, two ladies who specialize in pushing the limits of the art world with their unique practices. This “Art World” I speak of has certain taboos that I loathe. I find it pretty despicable how Kitschy, Crafty and Lowbrow are bad words in many art circles. That is why I adore artists like Monica Canilao and Bunnie Reiss who not only embrace these taboos, but also spin them by creating thoughtful installations overflowing with glitter, crystals, lace, tassels and so much more.
Their collaborative installation stretched continuously throughout the 3 rooms that make up Lopo Gallery, turning the massive space into a warm ethereal wonderland. Monica and Bunny used large textiles and found pieces of wood to alter the landscape of the gallery, creating organic walls and ceilings. While it is easy for such a space and material intensive installation to suffocate viewers, the way these ladies worked made the space welcoming instead of constrictive. Each room had inviting little alcoves that the guests were encouraged to crawl into and curl up in bundles of furs and textiles, temporarily being absorbed into the otherworldly environment.
I enjoy installations where the invisible 3rd wall has deteriorated and viewers can touch and engage with the work in a more participatory fashion. My viewing dynamics are thrown helter skelter in this type of space, I feel so much like a child crawling around my fort that I was almost disappointed by the few nooks that were too small for me to wiggle may way into, I ached to explore every facet of this magical realm.
The crowd attending the event was pretty amusing. My friend Meg who is temporarily in town, but resides in Humboldt most of the time commented that she’d never seen so many dreadlocks in one place in San Francisco. Many of the guests were wearing clothing that was adorned with patches and sparkles, which made us feel as though we hadn’t gotten the memo about dressing to match the installation.
If you are in the area you should go check out this spectral-tastic installation, it will leave you feeling mystified. The show will be up till January 7th at Lopo Gallery San Francisco.
Monica Canilo’s website can be found over here: http://www.monicacanilao.com/
Bunnie Reiss can be found on the web over here: http://www.landofbunnie.com/