1275 Minnesota St / Jack Fischer Gallery

Artist Reception: February 18th | 5pm-7pm

Jack Fischer Gallery is pleased to announce echo poems, an exhibition of collages by Bay Area artists Catie O’Leary and Vanessa Woods. The show highlights collage work by each artist, as well selections from their 6-year mail art exchange and other collaborative works. The title, echo poems, refers to a Surrealist game. To create an Echo Poem, participants paired words based on phonetic resonance rather than contextual meaning, thereby challenging rational associations. In a similar vein, both O’Leary and Woods combine disparate elements to create new associations that defy rational comprehension. Using original paper ephemera and found material, both artists reconfigure their source material to generate new narratives that explore identity, the body, Surrealism, and the subconscious.

As long time friends and collaborators, O’Leary’s and Woods’s collages share a common language developed through years of visual dialog. Both artists draw from the tradition of collage, with nods to Bay Area artists such as Jess, Bruce/Jean Connor and Jay Defeo who also exploit and distort the use of objects, symbols and the human body. In Woods’s work, new iconography is generated through bundles of fabric and body parts that become historical allegories reimagined. In O’Leary’s work, original engraved illustrations create a foundation for meticulous puzzle pieces that generate new associations.

Drawing collage material from diverse histories, cultures and populations, echo poems showcases the intersection of two artists and their re-imaginings. A selection of over twenty five collages made between 2011 and 2017, as well as selections from Woods’s and O’Leary’s on-going mail art exchange, including collaborative pieces and altered books will be on display for the exhibition.

Catie O’Leary is a California native. She received her MFA from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco, and her BFA from UC Santa Barbara. Her recent work was shown at the Oberpfalzer Kunsterhous in Fronberg, Germany where she was an artist in residence over the summer of 2013. O’Leary has exhibited at Jack Fischer Gallery and Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, as well as at the Palo Alto Art Center, Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek and the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, California.

Vanessa Woods graduated with an MFA with honors, from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her artwork and films have been exhibited internationally including Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, Stanford Art Spaces at Stanford University, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and The Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose. Woods has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship from the SF Arts Commission, a Film Arts Foundation Grant, and the San Francisco Art Institute's MFA Fellowship. She has also been awarded residencies at Djerassi, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony and in Pont-Aven, France, through the Museum of Pont-Aven.