Top 5 Auction Picks by Lauren Etchells, Exhibitions Fellow

My first month and a half at Root Division has gone by so fast! It’s been a whirlwind of studio visits with Root Division Studio Artists, selecting work for the Frank-Ratchye project space, and lately, helping the RD staff prepare for the upcoming Annual Art Auction on Thursday, October 27. This year’s auction features 199 works of art by over 160 established and emerging Bay Area artists, and let me tell you, there is so much great work to choose from!  I’ve been asked to choose my top five favorite works from the RD Auction–a near impossible feat–but here are my picks (hint, they’re all Root Division Studio Artists!):

Centa Schumacher, Arkansas Quartz (after Moebius), 2016, 20 x 16 in. archival inkjet print

Centa Schumacher’s piece Arkansas Quartz (after Moebius) makes magic visible. By modifying the lens of her camera and fitting it with crystals selected for their healing properties, Schumacher captures the light that passes through sacred stones resulting in otherworldly photographs and videos. Arkansas Quartz (after Moebius) was made using an overhead projector, which was used to light a fairly common quartz crystal from below and projected on to the wall, which was then photographed by Schumacher. The result? An image of a stunning rainbow aura hovering just above the shadowy quartz that leaves me wondering about all the mystical power this unassuming rock may possess.

Hunter Franks creates art that intervenes in the social and physical landscape of our urban environments. When he’s not declaring himself BART’s Artist in Residence or making sure we look out for more condos, Franks is creating LED light boxes and signs that call attention to some of the more ubiquitous phrases of our modern life. As a millennial, this piece speaks to me and my generation’s often noncommittal approach to all things personal, professional and everything in between. 

Hunter Franks, Signs of the Times, 2016, 25 x 18.75 x 3.5 in., wood, acrylic, vinyl, LED
Leigh Ann Coleman, Spacetime, 2016, 17 x 13 in., inkjet on paper, cotton, and yarn woven

While it appears to be a tiny textile, Spacetime by Leigh Ann Coleman is actually portal to a specific moment in time, experienced simultaneously by a network of individuals living in the Bay Area. Coleman asked 31 participants to set alarms on their phones for three specific times of day on August 1, 2015 and then to take a picture at that exact moment and record their location. The resulting images, all from 6:15 pm, were printed and woven together with paper, cotton and yarn to create this poetic and stunning piece

Clare Lynch’s Feathers appear soft and weightless from afar, but up close you’ll notice how sharp and aggressive they actually are. Lynch’s work takes negative emotions such as tension and anger, and transforms them into sculptural forms that make visible the beauty that can be found in discord. The juxtaposition of these contrasting physical and emotional characteristics makes for an enchanting experience both at a distance and in proximity. 

Clare Lynch, Feathers, 2016, 30 x 20 x 20 in., brass, copper, steel wires


Natasha Carlos, Self-Portrait (site E), 2016, 16 x 24 in., metal print

It was the color palette in Self-Portrait (site E) that first caught my attention. The deep greens of the ivy bushes and the satin dress contrasted with the two tiny clusters of red berries actually sparkle on this metal photo print. Beyond its shine, Self-Portrait (site E) is an intriguing examination of the intimacy Natasha Carlos feels for her environment. This work comes from a series of self-portraits in which Carlos is photographed interacting with personally significant sites, often almost completely immersed in both natural and urban landscapes. This piece captures that very human moment where place and identity converge.

Check out these five works, plus the other 194, at Root Division’s 15th Annual Art Auction on Thursday, October 27! Preview the entire auction, buy now, or place a proxy bid here. See you there!

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