Laurie Wigham has been making paintings and sketches at the fault lines of San Francisco’s latest seismic shift in identity. Her work tries to discover the paradoxes of beauty, discord, pain and grace in the cranes, scaffolding, green glass towers and burned apartment buildings of this changing city. A fragile pet cemetery is protected from freeway construction by massive slabs of concrete and gleaming condos rise out of a field of weeds and rubble.
Laurie works mostly in watercolor on paper because she can set up anywhere, whether it’s a busy street corner in the Mission or the burn zone from the Rim Fire. But she also loves watercolor for the way it can capture transience, fluidity and shifting layers of meaning. In all of her work she tries to show something true about this time, this place.
As part of her exhibit, Laurie invites sketchers of any experience to join her in Jane Warner Plaza on Saturday, April 2nd, from 1-3pm to capture their interpretations of the Changing City. Sketchers can include their work in an exhibition that will be juxtaposed with paintings of the Castro in the 1970s and 1980s by the late artist, Ramon Pablo Vidali.
Laurie Wigham Bio:
After nearly three decades doing illustration and design in the tech world, Laurie fell out of love with the computer and decided to get back to being in the physical world and recording it with her eyes and hands, to work without an undo button and get ink stains on her fingers.
She set up a Meetup group to find other people to go out sketching with her, and discovered a lot of other people were trying to get away from their electronic devices and connect with the world directly by drawing it. Her SF Sketchers meetup group has grown rapidly, approaching 1,800 members, and she has been working with John Muir Laws’ Nature Journal Club, as well as the international Urban Sketchers and Sketchcrawl groups.
Ramon Pablo Vidali
Ramon Pablo Vidali Bio:
Ramon Vidali painted life in the Castro in the 1970s and 1980s which included expressive street scenes, store fronts, nudes, drag queens as well as one of his favorite subjects, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. These vibrant paintings artistically and historically chronicled a now-important era of gay activity in the United States, uniquely capturing the cultural and political expression of the time -- particularly in San Francisco which had become a gay mecca for men and women around the world.
On Canvas, Ramon artistically captured a historical moment gay history in San Francisco that he himself was experiencing, including the important literary expression of the time with Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City and the epic political expression of the time with the movement that was occurring around Harvey Milk.
It has been said that Ramon's paintings are an absolute representation of the Castro at the time and his work has historical importance.