October 2nd, 2012

Michael Mabry

We’ve just introduced a series of twenty-seven original posters by a stunning group of designers.  These posters are exceptional for a number of reasons, and worth viewing in person if you can in San Francisco from October 9-11 and in New York on October 18-25. The large-scale 40 x 60 prints on canvas (Michael Mabry’s shown above) are commanding in presence and also in detail. Each poster tells a special story.  I’ll highlight two contrasting works from Bay Area designers who will be in hand for our October 9th launch at CCA next week: Michael Schwab and Jeremy Mende.

Michael Schwab is a well-known Bay Area designer. His works for the Golden Gate National Recreational area have become iconic. He enjoys working with saturated colors and plays on positive and negative space, often reducing the imagery to simple dramatic abstractions. He’s also a bike aficionado who lives and rides in the “public” hills and spaces of Marin County. He adores the bike as an object, and approaches it from a personal perspective in his piece, capturing the bike from an angle of worship, putting it on a pedestal aesthetically, reducing it to its essence, but asking us to look differently at the form. When was the last time you saw a monochromatic blue bike in a sea of black? Good designers play tricks on us.

Jeremy Mende takes another approach to his notion of “public”, an entirely different aesthetic perspective. Maybe the only element he shares with Schwab is his use of blue.  But Mende lives and works in urban San Francisco, and his influences come from bike scenes on the streets of his city. He has depicted five typical local urban scenarios, a romantic park scene, and a bicyclist getting smacked by a car door, a mom riding with her child, a bike accident and a ghost bike. Much of the imagery is quite violent actually, but Mende had disguised this in a decorative sweet blue and white palette like something you might find on Victorian china or wallpaper at the Ritz.  Good designers can be cleverly subversive.  You have to see this piece in its oversized version and up close in-detail to appreciate it fully.

Several other Bay Area designers will be on hand at our opening event next week, each with works as unique and personal and Schwab’s and Mende. Kit Hinrichs, Michael Mabry, Jennifer Morla, Jason Munn, Jason Schulte, Michael Vanderbyl. Each designer has created a piece as unique and personal as Schwab’s and Mende, and we’ll doing features on each designer later. But look at these closely at these works, you will certainly find something that resonates with your sensibility. If you need a major wake up call or inspiration in your home or office, consider a 40 x 60 version for $350.  For more modest budgets and spaces, we have 20 x 30 sizes available for $50 (unframed) and $250 (framed).  And we’ll be offering t-shirts and other PUBLIC WORKS products in the near future.

And RSVP here for our event next week.