The McLoughlin Gallery presents “Abstraction”, a group exhibition of Will Day,

Colin McRae, Jeff Muhs, Sarah Ratchye, Una Ryan, and Doug Thielscher

Works on view June 24 – August 31, 2016


San Francisco, CA (June 29, 2016)— What if Nothing Was Everything?


When Piet Mondrian created de Stijl (a system of using vertical and horizontal lines combined with primary colors, black, and white) he saw it as the ultimate abstract. A painting that depicted nothing but lines and swatches contained all the necessary ingredients for depicting anything in the universe, and thus everything in the universe. This process of abstraction, reducing objects from recognizable forms to flurries of identifiable shape and color, is at the heart of this exhibition. By abstracting traditional subject matter, or simply avoiding it all together, these artists are exploring the creative process. Through this exploration they create a visual lineage of our most human qualities: our emotions, our thoughts, or more literally, our very cellular makeup, and through this we have all the necessary ingredients to depict everything in the universe.   In this exhibition, Abstraction, the aforementioned principles of abstraction are explored as these artists strive towards comprehending the fabric of our makeup.


Day eschews traditional subject matter, creating an entirely abstract work fueled not by the visual cortex, but by the emotions. For Day, the importance is tied to the expressive, gestural qualities of his strokes and the visceral qualities of his color. Looking at one of Day’s paintings is like watching a movie with all of the frames playing at once. His intent is to portray a feeling, or in his own words, “In the end, it is all about letting go and trusting my intuition.”


The gestural strokes of Muhs’ serve to activate the paintings and approximate the visual experience to that of waves, winds, and storms whether of water or thought.  Witnessing the paintings the viewer is confronted to both an abstraction of the natural cycles of the elements and an elegant representation of the human psyche. 


McRae’s process of abstraction is not through process, but perspective. McRae’s work is comprised of aerial photos of the San Francisco Bay and its tributaries. His unique perspective is both literal, due to the bird’s-eye view, and artistic, as his eye for framing and passion for conserving the San Francisco Bay both play a role. “Within much of the tideland’s abstract beauty lies evidence of man’s ignorance of his environmental impact” – McRae.


With Ratchye’s featured works, abstraction stems from the way she applies crystals to canvas.  Both represent literal subject matter, but their portrayal in crystal allows for a unique manipulation of the images presented.


Thielscher’s abstraction is based in his intellect. Thielscher creates his own interpretation of books, philosophies, and ideas through sculpture. Doug works primarily in stone, marble, and bronze.


Incorporating black and white electron micrographs of living cells, Ryan, overlaying them with color field satellite images of the earth’s surface. The intensely contrasting micro and macro perspectives merge together, creating an unfamiliar image, abstracting both of them in the process. In her quest to search for scientific truths, Ryan’s work now explores philosophical truths; “Where do we fit into this immense universe”?