"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" might be the subtitle for the latest show at Creativity Explored. "A Curious Menagerie" is a group exhibition of artworks depicting various members of the animal kingdom, factual as well as fanciful, as viewed through the eyes of more than two dozen Creativity Explored artists. Encompassing everything from the domesticated to the wild and exotic, plus a few imaginary creatures, this show also comprises a range of media: watercolor, pastel, acrylic, pen and ink, wire, wood, paper, clay, fabric, and cardboard.
Artist Zachary Adams shows his love for “man’s best friend” in a winsome artwork of his own pet, entitled "My Pretty Pepper Girl Dog," in oil pastel and ink text on paper. Christina Marie Fong contributes "Bobcat Rabbit," a fanged, savage-looking bunny covered in ornate Indonesian-inspired patterns of gold and silver, using watercolor and metallic felt pen. Gerald Wiggins brings an anthropomorphic element into his Lizard Man and Jake, both glazed ceramic sculptures of half-man, half-animal creatures, dressed like urban hipsters complete with stitched jeans, modern caps and goatees.
And speaking of animals, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is exhibiting 30 works featuring animals from South and Southeast Asia in their current show, "The Elephant's Eye." In those cultures, animals evoke the power of kingdoms, the wisdom of saints and devotional desire. In these works, animals are not pets for play but representations of religion, politics, culture and history.
Elephants take center stage. Ganesh becomes a symbol of wisdom or success, a remover of obstacles and a patron of arts and sciences. In an eighteenth-century Bundi painting from Rajasthan, a determined elephant outsmarts his tethers, finding a way to unearth the peg that pinned him to the ground. In a clever twist on the prominent place of elephants in Asian art, conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid trained elephants to actually make paintings themselves at an elephant preserve in Thailand. Through June 29, 2014
Traveling from Asia to Italy brings the visitor to Ferdinando Ambrosino's show at the Italian Cultural Institute. His colorful artwork is inspired by the archaeological sites of Campania: Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Phlegraean Fields, but also Stabiae and the Amafi coast - the cultural heritage of the Greco-Roman world and the foundation of our Western culture - observed, visited and interpreted by a contemporary artist. Through April 4.
Art in Action: How It's Done: Celebrating Women Artists in San Francisco, Past and Present': In honor of Women's History Month, the S.F. Public Library and the S.F. Arts Commission are celebrating the city's female artists. As an added bonus, the Main Library will host a different local street artist each Friday this month; watch as she creates new work, live and in person. First up: Kathy Hallinan, who has designed and sold her leather craft items for more than 40 years.
If you go: 1-3 p.m. Friday. Free. Art, Music and Recreation Department, Fourth Floor, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F. http://bit.ly/1bK13wZ.
Also at the San Francisco Public Library: "Pretty In Ink." While the general public is all too familiar with superheroes such as Superman, Spiderman, Batman and others, lesser known is how many women drew comics in the early 20th Century and drew them beautifully and often hilariously. Through photos, letters, original artwork, toys, comic books and other ephemera this exhibition discusses the first woman comic strip artist Rose O’Neill and her comic The Old Subscriber Calls, in Truth Magazine in 1896 and other women cartoonists from the late 19th century to now.
Official Rose O'Neill Site: http://www.roseoneill.org/mainpage.html