“The Swimmer,” Chris Sollars’s first solo show for Steven Wolf Fine Arts, features photos, videos and sculpture, all in homage to the San Francisco coastline, and its duality of water, Ocean and Bay, that shape the city. The sculptures in the show are all pulled from these shores; shopping carts, bikes, 40 oz bottles and cinderblocks meticulously cleaned to exhibit the saltwater’s own addition–colonies of barnacles living on our trash, like so many low rent tenants filling in the converted studios and improvised accommodations of coveted real estate, only to be yanked up and out, evicted by the fate of their discovery. Other items, ropes and sponges, get rearranged into consumer items, upcycled from formerly functional object, to objet d’art.
The eponymous video at the heart of the exhibition features the artist, in established Sollars style humor, making his way from the Bay, through the city’s downtown and Southern border neighborhoods, and finally out to the Pacific, stopping for a dip in every swimming pool, fountain, and wishing well en route, dashing between in his speedo, swim cap and goggles through the city streets.
Notably, most San Franciscans don’t bat an eye in his presence; this is the epicenter of public spectacle and exhibitionism after all. In between his movement across the city, and in and out of corporate waterworks, the interludes of Sollars in the pool, in full stroke, create a disorienting double perspective of Sollars, both as an outsider watching him on the street, and then from the internal, solitary experience any lap swimmer can identify.
Combined with the “large scale environmental drawing,” in which Sollars traverses the San Francisco coastline, the show encircles the city, marking not only the surmountable size and scale of our 49 square mile city, but the direct relationship between all this land, from Bayshore to Ocean Beach, that exists in a state of constant flux, shaped by economic conditions and developer’s speculation as much as oceanic force and tectonic plates.
“The Swimmer” is on view through December 23rd, 2013.
For more information on “The Swimmer” visit Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco.
-Contributed by Kathryn McKinney