Press release: Overturn the Artifice, curated by SOMArts 2012–13 Commons Curatorial Residency recipient Jack Leamy
SOMArts Cultural Center

Jess Young, Director of Communications
& Community Engagement
415-863-1414 x112



SOMArts Cultural Center Presents


Group exhibition of paintings, video, sculptural installation and performance

by nationally known artists, March 8–29, 2013, investigates the role of the artist artist as social activist and spiritual guide

January 4, 2013, San Francisco, CA—  SOMArts Cultural Center presents Overturn the Artifice, a group exhibition March 8–29, 2013, curated by one of SOMArts’ 2012–13 Commons Curatorial Residency recipients, Jack Leamy. Locally, nationally and internationally-recognized fine artists working in painting, installation, time-based media and performance strive to re-enfranchise the individual—politically, economically and socially—while transcending and transforming historically brutal narratives of nationalism, racism, genocide, misogyny, capitalism and conformity.

The artworks in Overturn the Artifice are united by a shared vision in community healing and catharsis through art as well as an intensely personal and often spiritually-inspired vision. Paintings by participating artists Alex Chowaniec, Kristen Van Diggelen, Michelle Foyer, Jack Leamy and Jeremy Morgan suggest worlds symbolic and embodied. Videos by Jefferson Pinder explore personal and cultural identity. The annex of the Main Gallery features a chalk mural by Friendship House, Association of American Indians, Inc. Youth Program members. The mural forms a framework for rows of sculptures of children’s backpacks cast in sea salt by Leamy and Cathy Fairbanks.

“This cadre of artists selected by Jack Leamy utilizes masterful technical ability in tandem with unrivaled emotional sincerity in their relationship to the symbolic and their execution of aesthetically powerful figurative and abstract paintings and installations,” commented SOMArts Curator and Gallery Director, Justin Hoover.

Chowaniec and Van Diggelen update Baroque painting stylistically and thematically. Chowaniec paints with the refined formality of the classically trained, layered with soft, loose brushstrokes that seem to erase portions of her pieces. Van Diggelen uses a Baroque painting language and traditional religious iconography to address contemporary gender hierarchies. Van Diggelen’s “Immaculate Conception,” for example, is a sculptural jewelry piece in the form of a Catholic prayer rosary created out of symbolic ready-made materials, including birth control pills, levonorgestrel pills, and copper sculpted to represent an intrauterine device.

Foyer’s gestural abstractions offer worlds of tension and detachment. Morgan’s work contemplates the interaction between nature and human nature, elements and energies. His paintings mix compositional and rhythmic influences from historic Chinese landscape painting with the materials and abstract language of modern and contemporary abstract painting in the Western tradition. Leamy’s chromatic and colorful figurative paintings enact personal and poetic themes of symbolic archetypes including icons of the Madonna, Jesus and past United States presidents.  

The opening reception on Friday, March 8, 6pm to 9pm includes performances by Bert Bergen, Ryan Noble and Krizstina Lazar. Video archiving these performances remains on view in the gallery throughout the exhibition.

In “You Destroy Me/I Destroy You” Noble directly engages with a massive, classically-rendered male bust, literally struggling to carry this piece in a contemporary performance context. Bergen offers “The Fetid Chasm of Transgression,” described by the artist as a “magico-religious impalement ritual.” Krisztina Lazar’s “Cocoon” explores the point in time when incubation and transformation become imperative to the survival of the organism.  

On Thursday, March 21, 6pm to 9pm, the Native American Poetry Slam will be held in the gallery in partnership with The Friendship House, which offers alcohol and drug recovery programs and other continuing care and social services by and for American Indians in order to give disenfranchised community members support and education in their own traditional spiritual rituals and practice.

The closing event on Friday, March 29, from 6pm to 9pm, features “Nationwide Meditation,” an open meditation by transcendental meditation teacher and practitioner Paul Brown, from 6pm to 7pm, as well as free shoe shines by Rachel and Jack Leamy in a sculptural installation “Sweetheart Chair” from 7pm to 9pm. The shoe shine is an act of respectful service, and is given by Leamy and Leamy as a transformative gift and a wish for well being.

Participating artists include:
Bert Bergen
Alex Chowaniec
Kristen Van Diggelen
Cathy Fairbanks
Michelle Foyer
Krisztina Lazar
Jack Leamy
Rachel Leamy
Jeremy Morgan
Ryan Noble
Jefferson Pinder

Exhibition and all accompanying events are free to attend and take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA, 94103.

Overturn the Artifice Exhibition
March 8–29, 2013. Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm, and Saturday 12–5pm.

Opening Reception with Performance
Friday, March 8, 6–9pm

Native American Poetry Slam
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 6–9pm

Closing Event Featuring Nationwide Meditation & Free Shoe Shines in Sweetheart Chair
Friday, March 29, 6–9pm, meditation 6–7pm, shoe shines 7–9pm

Overturn the Artifice is one of four exhibition proposals selected to receive a 2012–13 Commons Curatorial Residency exhibition at SOMArts. Selected artists and curators receive curatorial stipends and a support package valued at over $20,000, as well as access to one of the largest and most beautiful gallery spaces in the heart of the city to expand their practice, engage the Bay Area’s cultural communities and turn vision into reality.

SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) was founded in 1979 and operates the South of Market Cultural Center, one of four city-owned cultural facilities in San Francisco.

SOMArts supports exhibitions, performances, classes and other collaborations that serve its mission: to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.

For more information about upcoming events, space rentals and technical services, visit or call 415-863-1414. SOMArts programs are supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Community Arts and Education Program, with funding from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and The San Francisco Foundation.
Jack Leamy
Jack Leamy, Madonna of the Weeds, 2012, oil on wood panel, 96x74 inches
Click here to download a high-res version of this image
SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 863-1414
Jeremy Morgan, Aperture And Realizations 48x72, Acrylic on Canvas Over Panel, 2008
Jeremy Morgan, Aperture And Realizations, 2008, acrylic on canvas over panel, 48x72 inches
Click here to download a high-res version
Kristen Van Diggelen
Kristin Van Diggelen, Still Life with Lights, 2012, oil on canvas, 60x36 inches
Click here to download a high-res version of this image
Copyright © 2013 SOMArts Cultural Center, All rights reserved.