We had the distinct honor of a visit by Italy’s Consul General in San Francisco, Mauro Battocchi at our VIP reception for “Celebrating 2013 The Year of Italian Culture: Paintings Created on Location in Italy by Anthony Holdsworth.”
Mr Battocchi discussed, with some humor, the British and American love of Italy with artist Anthony Holdsworth, and gallery owners, Marsha Garland and Stefano Cassolato.(Left) and accepted a copy of ‘Questa Era Bella/ This Was Beautiful’ a bilingual account of Anthony’s three month painting trip from the artist. (Right)
The Show Continues. Join Me!
I invite you to join me during gallery hours: Thurs, Fri, Sat 5 pm- 8 pm for the rest of June (except June 15). I will be present at all times and look forward to discussing the paintings and my experiences in Italy with you.
June 7 – June 29 : Buon Gusto Gallery, 535 Green Street, San Francisco
Hours: 5 – 8 pm Thurs – Sat (closed June 15)
For further information scroll down to the next post.
“Celebrating 2013 the Year of Italian Culture – Paintings Created on Location in Italy”
June 7 – June 29, Buon Gusto Gallery, 535 Green Street, San Francisco , 415.531.2911
Hours: 5 – 8 pm Thurs – Sat (closed June 15) I will be present in the gallery during these hours, and I look forward to talking with you about these paintings and my experiences in Italy.
Naples from Castello San Elmo, 16" x 23", oil/canvas, 2012
About the Show: I produced these works on a two and one half month journey through Italy last summer. In 1967 and ’68 I worked as Head of Outdoor Restoration for the Uffizi Gallery helping to clean up after the disastrous flood of ’66. So this extensive trip, 45 years later, was a chance to reflect on the changes that have shaken the Italian peninsula during this period.
The Book: I kept a diary, in Italian, which I corrected with the help of my professor at City College of San Francisco, Carol Cadoppi. I have published the diary in English and Italian along with all my oils and watercolors. It is available for sale at the gallery, but may also be purchased through ‘Lulu’.
Other Works: Also included in this show are a few larger works based on paintings created on earlier trips to Italy. Such as this painting of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre:
Cinque Terre through my Window.
The Video: Enjoy a twenty minute video of our journey. It is best viewed at your leisure, full screen with a glass of wine!
President Obama’s acknowledgement of the need to confront Climate Change in his inaugural address was a welcome shift for those who have watched his administration drag its heels on this issue for four years.
I personally experienced the old policy on May 7th, 2010 when six of my Global Warming Series paintings were ordered out of our nation’s first green Federal Building (90 7th Street San Francisco) on the day of my reception.( “Censored: Feds force closure of Global Warming Show in First Green Federal Building” ) Our local press barely acknowledged this act of censorship. This was unfortunate, because there was an important story here. I was almost certainly the victim of the Administration’s back room decision in 2009 to “downplay climate change”.
The incident did inspired me to create a new Global Warming Painting (pictured below) which imagined the consequences of Climate Change to the Federal Building that had evicted my paintings. I exhibited it five blocks away in Caffe Museo at the SFMOMA in May and June of 2011.
But that was then.
This is now, and Obama has had a change of heart.
Or has he?
His boasts about our increasing domestic production of gas and oil immediately after his strong statement on Climate Change struck a troubling note. This note turned sour when he chose, on the day of the nation’s largest Climate Change Demonstration in Washington DC, to play golf “in Florida with a pair of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players”.
He may not be in denial, but Obama will not significantly challenge the massive wealth and power of the Fossil Fuel Industry unless he is confronted with massive pressure from the American people.
Criminal Profligacy of the Fossil Fuel Industries
It is an irony of our age that the fossil fuel industries, whose technologies of extraction, transportation and refinement would not exist without the discoveries of modern science are unwilling to heed the urgent warnings of the world’s leading scientists. Insulated by their vast wealth and power they’ve enlisted pseudo scientists and religious fanatics to run interference so they can party while the planet burns! And it will burn if they are not brought to task.
Carbon dioxide, once released, is a genie that cannot easily be returned to the bottle. The biosphere needs thousands of years to reabsorb it, which means that, at current concentrations, the planet will experience serious warming, monster storms, droughts, famine and rising seas. But if we fail to break our dependence on fossil fuels within a couple of decades, concentrations could reach a point where, over several centuries, the planet would become uninhabitable for higher life forms.
Tankers offload oil for the Chevron Refinery in Pt. Richmond, oil on canvas, Detail
Towards a Solution
Public pressure to counter the fossil fuel lobby needs to be accompanied by an effective plan to transition off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer have unveiled “a fee and dividend” climate bill that would initiate this process. They would impose a fee of $20 a ton on all carbon emissions at their source. Raising the fee yearly so that after a decade it would be over $34 a ton. This is probably insufficient to wean us off carbon based fuels in two decades. But it’s a good start and because 3/5′s of the money raised will be returned to every legal resident, it has the potential to be popular with the American public. The rest of the money would go to incentives for clean energy and research.
We should all support this bill.
Activism can pay off:
The 80 mile-long park that constitutes Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, some of it visible in this painting, was largely the creation of a few dedicated activists. Their story is brilliantly told in the new film Rebels With A Cause.
Six Golden Gate Series paintings will be featured along with other recent works.
This is an opportunity to have a lively conversation with me and other guests. I will be serving bread, cheese, wine and cappuccinos. Go to ‘Visit Studio’ on this website for directions to my studio.
Postcards and Archival Prints:
Postcards of Oakland and Occupy derived from some of my favorite paintings will be available, as well as archival prints of many of my works.
The Golden Gate Bridge from Kirby Cove, oil/canvas, 20" X 36". 2012
“The Golden Gate Bridge from Kirby Cove’ (above) will be among those on view at my Open Studio.
George Krevsky Gallery
The painting below, titled ‘The Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands’ is on exhibition at the George Krevsky Gallery. 77 Kearny St., San Francisco until June 9th. It is also included in the gallery’s gorgeous catalogue for the exhibition ‘Artistic Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge’ available through ePressBooks,Inc.
SFMOMA Artists’ Gallery, Fort Mason
Four other paintings from my ‘Golden Gate Series’ will be on exhibition at the SFMOMA Artists’ Gallery from May 26 – June 28th. Including this panorama :
Golden Gate Bridge from Below the Palace of the Legion of Honor
About the Golden Gate Series:
When I started these works, I thought “Painting this bridge is akin to painting the Eiffel Tower. It’s been ‘done’ so many times!” However, I soon discovered that this particular marriage of high technology and landscape is archetypal. What began as a few paintings became a series.
From an outlook below the Palace of the Legion of Honor (See above) the bridge appears improbably delicate. A fine web of steel spanning two headlands. It is an expression of pure physics. As beautiful as a spider’s web and almost as minimal.
Up close – from the waterfront approaching Fort Point – the bridge overwhelms with it’s scale and with the muscular grace of it’s art deco details. The swells rounding Fort Point roll past the orange towers that rise from the ocean to conduct a steady flow of pedestrians and vehicles effortlessly across the watery chasm.
Where I stand painting this engineering marvel the waves crash up against the waterfront, splashing me and my painting and, on one occasion, drenching my truck.
The bridge embodies in its design the conviction of the nineteenth and early twentieth century that technology could overcome nature, extract great benefits from it, but exist in harmony with it. It took the horrors of modern warfare, the nuclear age, environmental degradation and climate change to tarnish this conviction. From a visual point of view the bridge expresses this antiquated aspiration perfectly.
But from the point of view of function the bridge is a conduit for an enormous amount of internal combustion traffic-hooked on fossil fuels. The Golden Gate Bridge Commission could help break this addiction by offering owners of electric cars three, toll free years. This would be a great incentive to go electric.
The bridge also embodies the optimism of the Roosevelt period. Amadeo Giannini, the founder of the Bank of America, in the midst of the Great Depression purchased all the bonds for the construction of the bridge so as to provide employment for workers in San Francisco. It is impossible today to imagine a banker with such a sense of social obligation!
‘Three Painters Witness Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco’ on youtube
I recommend that you watch this eight minute video in its entirety before reading today’s blog.
Don’t miss the images in the credits. Enjoy…
We all know that the rebellious young artists who gathered around Camille Pissarro in the 1870′s and 1880′s gave birth to the first modern art movement, Impressionism. But the radical political origins of this movement are not generally understood. ‘Pissarro’s People’ at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco Legion of Honor highlights the radical ambiance within which this movement was born and the central role of Camille Pissarro, a life-long anarcho-syndicalist, in nurturing and shepherding the movement. Artists as diverse as Gauguin and Cezanne acknowledged their artistic debt to the man Cezanne referred to as the ‘humble and colossal Camille Pissarro’
The democratic egalitarianism of anarchism inspired these artists to work together in a rare spirit of collegiality which enabled Impressionism to advance into virgin territory. Because these artists were comfortable on the street, among the people, their work shares a universality that continues to engage the public.
As international collectors swarmed the ‘School of Paris’, artists scrambled to create new ‘isms’ and modernism, nurtured on political radicalism, morphed into radical experimentation which remained vital up through Abstract Expressionism.
Pop Art marked the end of the original radical impulse and the beginning of an unhealthy union of the marketplace and art institutions.
The Triumphalism of the ‘American Century’ which led to the absurd assertion, in the 1990′s, that we had reached the ‘end of history’ was anticipated in 1970′s by art writers who proclaimed the ‘end of painting’ .
There is no denying the achievements of artists as diverse as, say, Walter de Maria, Christo or Andy Goldsworthy who confirm this narrative. But to characterize the activity of painting, which we have engaged in for thousands of years, as no longer relevant appeared to me, even in those days when I was studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, to be absurd. It strengthened my resolve to explore new possibilities within realistic painting.
Painting is a fundamental laboratory of the imagination. Painting from life, studying, absorbing, refining and communicating our experience in a direct, physical way opens our eyes to reality on a deep level. It refines our capacity for empathy which is the currency of art.
The unexpected emergence of the Occupy Movement is a sign that the country is finally awakening from the delusion of American triumphalism. The ‘street’ is re-entering the political dialogue. It is a good time to be out on the street channeling this populist energy.
Anthony Holdsworth was born in England in 1945. He was introduced to oil painting in high school by the New England painter, Loring Coleman. Holdsworth embarked on a painting career while working as Head of Outdoor Restoration for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy after the flood of 1966. He continued his studies at the Bournemouth College of Art in England where he studied with master draftsman Samuel Rabin and color theorist Jon Fish and at the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied with Julius Hatofsky.
He has shown with major galleries in Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles. He has participated in two exhibitions at the Oakland Museum. He was included in the California Cityscapes exhibition at the San Diego Museum. He was a recipient of WESTAF-NEA fellowship in 1990. His work is in corporate and private collections worldwide.