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Editorial: Recommendations
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Chris Sicat and Shingo Francis
K. Imperial Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by DeWitt Cheng


Chris Sicat and Shingo Francis, "Hearkening Dusk and Twilight," 2015, installation view. Photo: Sean Mikula

Continuing through October 31,2015

We on the Left Coast have been granted some spectacular skies lately, especially at sunset, with theatrical formations of cumulonimbus and altostratus clouds — unusual for the Bay Area — lit up in palettes of psychedelic intensity. Whether caused by global warming, chemtrails or some other nefarious factor matters little to the enraptured eye struck with awe and wonder. The Romantic sublime is not much considered these days, when getting and spending are most people’s top priorities, but we need to indulge now and then. The show’s title, "Hearkening Dusk and Twilight," with its late-19th century Symbolist vibe, updates Romantcism for the post-minimalist age, with nearly monochrome paintings in purples, blues and oranges by Shingo Francis that irresistibly suggest evening skies; and found-object tree sections by Chris Sicat that are covered, laboriously, with shiny gray graphite that bring them to resemble petrified wood or natural ruins.

Friends since high school, the artists create complementary works that compel us to slow down, breathe and see. Francis’ paintings, like "Deep Violet and Magenta and Veil (Turquoise-Violet)," are comprised of large blocks of medium to dark saturated color which is allowed to drip at the bottom deckle-like edge, suggestive of condensation and precipitations, while a slim band of lighter color (certainly a reference to Barnett Newman’s vertically-oriented ‘zips’) traverses the bottom of the color plane, an abstracted horizon demarcating the deepening night sky. Sicat’s graphite-covered oak and redwood slices of nature, with their reflective surfaces, change appearance as we move around them; despite their strong sculptural form created by the carving or cropping, works like the geomorphic Slab and the compacted cloud of "Into the Burl" are thus painterly in effect, and, like Francis’ paintings, meditative in their affect.

K. Imperial Fine Art

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