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On January 14th, the Shooting Gallery opened the first solo show in San Francisco by local artist Charmaine Olivia. Entitled Ritual, this show features new paintings inspired by the themes of mythology. Each one of the large oil paintings feature a female deity created by Charmaine, and the entire gallery has been transformed into a temple. The installations features magical items, and smaller works of art in dedication to the central figures. The show closed on February 4th, and I finally made my way to the gallery and caught it on the last day. I was told that the reception was pretty amazing, and free prints were even given out to the first group of fans. I wish I could have seen the show the reception night, but I am happy I at least was able to see this show before it was taken down. Along with this review/photos, I also made another video walkthrough, the longest one yet at almost 10 minutes. Click the read more for the full review and video.
Prior to this show I had only seen a painting by Charmaine in person one time, at Spoke Art Gallery, however I missed the show she participated in there alongside Tatiana Suarez, Handiedan, and Craww. I was interested in how Charmaine would use the entire space over at Shooting Gallery for this new show, and was blown away at how she not only used the space in order to create a new world for this show, but completely owned the space. There was so much to be seen, so many details and tiny elements that all culminated together to allow the viewer to understand and feel the mythological beings the artist created. Since there was so much to see, I not only took more photos than I usually do, but also made a longer video than normal. I hope the video gives an idea of what seeing this show in person was like.
Aside from the amount of visuals the show had, I was really drawn in to the way that Charmaine painted the largest works. The colors used for the skin tones, and the ghostly skeletal imagery that was found on each painting was amazing. I especially like the way that the paint in the background was thicker and helped to create this texture that enveloped the figures. There was also a good amount of drippy oil textures, that really helped to add the surreal, mystical feel of the works. One could almost image the black paint was smoke, or a dense fog that the figures were emerging from.
Along with the smaller painted works and oil portraits, were these silhouette paintings made with india ink on paper, one of which was inspired by Medusa. I have always been intrigued by the myth of Medusa so I was happy to see it in the show. Looking at Charmaine’s online shop I noticed that this Medusa painting is also available as a limited edition print, as are a couple of other silhouette editions. The print that was given away during the night of the reception is also available in the shop just in case you missed it.
I have never walked away from an art show disappointed. There is always something good to be found. On the other hand, It is rare that I walk away from a show and spend the rest of the day thinking about the art, wondering if I took enough photos, and if the video will be good enough as I was with Charmaine Olivia’s Ritual. The show was just that good, and I am excited to see what Charmaine comes up with next. Keep your eye on her Homepage, Flickr, and Tumblr for more art and news.