Artists Reception at Alley Cat Books, March 23, 2019
Not since Frida and Diego have I seen a painting artist couple whose works are such hallmarks of their time and such a deep pleasure to view. The current joint exhibit of Beryl Landau and Anthony Holdsworth on display at the Alley Cat Bookshop Gallery in the back of Alley Cat Bookshop in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District – does not disappoint. Their cityscapes depict the changing nature of the city itself and even the very street outside the door. In both their works, nature asserts herself midst the cement, asserting her primordial force.
But before you enter the spacious gallery in the back of the bookstore, you must make your way through a world of intriguing book titles and their covers that, even in passing, give rise to questions and curiosities. You are intellectually and emotionally engaged when you enter the exhibition. You confront the two painters, Landau and Holdsworth’s urban visions. They offer views of the urban environment as differently as night and day.
On one wall, Landau depicts the city under bright blue expanses of sky in large acrylic paintings. On the opposite wall, you see Holdsworth’s views of the Mission District, many painted at night illuminated by an LED lamp attached to his easel so he can see his smaller canvas while he paints in oils. Holdsworth is a plein air painter, an open air painter, painting on location.
Landau paints in her nearby home studio often from photographs. She believes strongly that the artist must view what she paints as she paints it. She must confront the reality of what she paints. These two highly developed and experienced painters show two different views of the city. Their combined visual message in this exhibit speaks of dynamic environmental and social change in a metropolitan setting, you might say “gentrification.”
Beryl Landau’s distinctive blue skies portray construction work crews or sites as the change is happening before her eyes, albeit she is painting in her studio. In Anthony Holdsworth’s on-the-spot lit up night scenes, the changes are happening perhaps in the artist’s heart as he experiences the neighborhood’s rapid change with shops closing and people moving.
This is an exhibit that one can enjoy seeing more than once as there is much to absorb beyond her smooth textures and his thick impastos, the color, or the other elements of shape or light. These two artists, Beryl Landau, and Anthony Holdsworth are giants commenting on their time and place. They are not detached observers. As one who has lived with their works in her home, I can say that these paintings have afforded decades of enjoyment. They wear well, are always pleasing to the eye for residents and guests, and find their place on the walls even when I have changed houses.
The two activist artists, deeply rooted in their environments bring beauty and intelligence to their paintings, each in their own clearly differentiated ways. But they are united in their productiveness, love of painting and the planet.
The gallery is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 8 PM from March 2 to March 31 at Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St in San Francisco’s Mission District.
You are invited to a special reception from 7 PM to 9 PM on Saturday, March 23rd. A half hour will be set aside in which the artists will talk about their work and answer questions from the audience.