Mike Henderson at Sanchez Art Center
Sanchez Art Center is pleased to offer three new exhibitions, opening Friday, May 31 with a reception from 7 to 9 pm. The Main Gallery presents Insight: Paintings by Mike Henderson, a San Francisco artist with a rich visual language. The show is organized by Philip E. Linhares, former Chief Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California. The East Gallery hosts the Fog Fest Invitational with 2018 Fog Fest Photo Contest award winners and judges sharing their photography. In the West Gallery, the Art Guild of Pacifica presents a group show titled Unconscious. Music for the May 31 reception will be provided by Blue City Jazz with Julia and Brian Novak-McSweeney. Main Gallery artist Mike Henderson joined the San Francisco art scene in the mid-sixties, gaining major momentum by painting scenes from the social upheaval of the times. “The paintings were just flowing out of me,” says Henderson. “I’d never seen black people in this position,” referring to prominent figures such as Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, and the Black Panthers. A trip to the 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival with Buffalo Springfield also changed Henderson’s life and art when he experienced up close the music of Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. Henderson came from a small town in Missouri, where an early patron who bought paintings from the young man’s shoeshine stand, helped him get a loan to go to art school in the Bay Area. “I knew from the beginning I wanted to be an artist,” says Henderson. In San Francisco, he earned a BFA and MFA from the SF Art Institute, the only local art school that was integrated at the time, and one of the first such in the U.S. Henderson’s more recent works are mostly abstract rather than figurative, and abstract expressionism is now the corner of the art world where he hangs his hat. Many paintings are built up in blocks or fields of color, with wide brushstrokes and palette knife swipes of paint to remove any favorite spots. According to the Henderson, these deletions open up the whole painting. His focus on abstract work could change again, of course. As the artist says, “Paintings never give you what you like, they give you what they want. . . . When nature has something it wants to bring forth into the world, it just puts it into a human.” Such an open and inviting philosophy must have been a blessing to Henderson’s students at UC Davis; he is now retired as Professor Emeritus after 43 years of teaching. Henderson’s openness in this way also opens the door to contemporary themes even in abstractions. This exhibit, aptly titled Insight: Paintings by Mike Henderson, demonstrates the artist’s range, breadth, and depth of feeling and vision. Henderson is also an accomplished blues musician, another talent that he had wanted to develop since his youth, and a filmmaker with an impressively long filmography. His artworks have been shown widely, in both solo and group exhibitions throughout California as well as in Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, and Bern, Switzerland. His work has been collected by SF MOMA, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum of Art, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Microsoft, and Genentech Corporation, among other museums and institutions. He has received awards from the Flintridge Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Guggenheim. The artworks in Insight are on loan from the artist and Haines Gallery, San Francisco, and we are delighted to share them with the public. To learn more, come to the Artist Talk with Mike Henderson and organizer Philip Linhares on closing Sunday, June 30, at 3:30 pm. In the East Gallery, the Fog Fest Invitational showcases photographs by award-winning photographers. In September of 2018, the annual Fog Fest Photo Contest was held, with 10 photographers winning awards in their respective categories (Our Natural World; Design; Black & White; and the special theme, Full Sail). Part of their award is to show work in a group exhibition the following year, along with works by judges Alan Grinberg, Edwin Hacking, and Sharron Walker. You can hear these photographers talk about their work in a special Gallery Walk on Thursday, June 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. In West Gallery, the Art Guild of Pacifica presents its latest group show on the theme of Unconscious, which may include interpretations of “shadows of the mind,” inner self, intuition, fantasy, dreams, that which is inaccessible to the conscious mind but affects behavior and emotion, or maybe artmaking without conscious control over the process. It should be a fascinating topic to explore artistically. Sanchez Art Center is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica, about a mile east of Highway 1. Following opening night, the galleries are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, and by appointment, through June 30. For more information call 650.355.1894 or visit SanchezArtCenter.org/index.htm.