Featuring Danny Bickmore, Guillermo Bublik, Krystina Trinity
Featuring Lauren Dare, Zina Hall, Dan Miller, William Scott, Nicole Storm, Monica Valentine, Ron Veasey, Alice Wong, Ying Ge Zhou
Creative Growth Art Center is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California that advances the inclusion of artists with developmental disabilities in contemporary art and strengthens community by providing a supportive studio environment and gallery representation.
Lauren Dare (b.1977)
Lauren Dare’s multi-layered abstract drawings are completed with a characteristically active and gestural process. Filling the page to the edge with high viscosity ink, Dare layers dense, sweeping collections of lines that exercise the full range of motion in her wrist and arm. Dare describes these frond-like forms as “trees,” and sometimes interrupts them with clusters of circles, achieved in the same vibrational hand. Simultaneously organized and frenetic, her linework flows and crashes like waves, creating an energetic visual texture. Whether she’s working in bright color or monochrome, Dare has a captivatingly sophisticated sense of depth and composition.
Zina Hall (b. 1964)
Zina Hall arrived in the Creative Growth Studio already an adept quilter, and quickly translated those skills into her embroidery practice. Hall’s work often acts as a tool for memorializing and immortalizing those that are close to her. Portraits of her parents, husband, and even herself as a child, celebrate the intimacy and eternal love of family and cherished moments in time. Hall also creates embroidered interpretations of her favorite TV shows such as “The Golden Girls,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “Sanford & Sons,” as well as musical icons like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Barry White.
Hall works from photographs by either tracing the subject’s contours and details onto fabric with a sharpie while keeping the photo next to her for reference, or sewing through the photo itself on the fabric. The economy of means in her selective palette and tight stitchwork delivers the drama and significance of a grand tapestry while capturing essential details of her beloved figures. While choosing to create single pieces most of the time, Hall will occasionally revisit her quilting skills and stitch several pieces together for large wall hangings.
Dan Miller (b. 1961)
Dan Miller’s artwork is composed of obsessive overlays of words and imagery that often build to the point of abstraction. Each work contains a written record of Miller’s interests in hardware stores, lightbulbs, electrical sockets and familiar people, however only a few words are identified in its final stage. Largely nonverbal, Miller was taught at an early age to write words and numbers in order to communicate. This became the primary influence on his artistic practice, transforming text into graphic elements, and employing an abstracted visual language as a tool of inquiry and expression.
Miller has had solo exhibitions at White Columns, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York, Galerie Christian Berst in Paris, and Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Los Angeles. His work was selected for the Venice Biennale in 2017, and has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Berkeley Art Museum; The Museum of Everything, London; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Rachel Uffner Gallery and Partners & Spade, New York; Gallery Paule Anglim, Jules Maeght and 836M, San Francisco; Nina Johnson Gallery, Miami; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan; Galerie Christian Berst and ABCD, Paris. Miller’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, American Folk Art Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Mad Musée, and the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne. Miller’s work is also included in the private collections of David Byrne, Cindy Sherman, Maurizio Cattelan, Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner, Nicolas Rohatyn and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Andy and Kate Spade, among many others.
William Scott (b. 1964)
William Scott is a highly skilled self-taught painter and social theorist who creates utopian visions of the past, present, and future. Scott’s fundamental interest lies in reimagining public and private life as a more peaceful and positive existence. This manifests in his paintings in several genres; self-portraits, architectural renderings, portraits of pop culture icons, and imaginings of a peace-loving future.
While deeply rooted in personal history, Scott’s paintings address wider questions of citizenship, community, and cultural memory. For Scott, painting is a transformative as well as documentary tool. His works are a way to recraft personal narrative, as in his “another life” self–portraits, in which Scott becomes “Billy the Kid,” an athletic LA Lakers basketball star or does not bear the scars of a childhood injury. His portraits, predominantly of black figures, encompass African American political leaders and pop icons such as Prince, Kamala Harris, Oprah, and Janet Jackson, but also record members of his church, family, and residents of his native San Francisco.
Scott’s practice at large reimagines the social topography of this rapidly gentrified city, which emerges as the utopian ‘Praise Frisco’ in works that combine architectural design with science fiction. Scott’s proposals for new buildings, neighborhoods, and civic agencies together describe his compelling desire for a more equitable society.
Nicole Storm (b. 1967)
Nicole Storm has been working at Creative Growth for 27 years, and has recently expanded her practice to include immersive site-specific installations. Storm's latest exhibition as White Columns in New York was proclaimed one of the best Gallery Shows of 2021 by Roberta Smith in the New York Times.
For Storm, the process of creation is paramount to the final painting. Storm doesn’t simply sit or stand while working – she walks the building, rides the elevator, and hides in corners, carrying her work around as she adds layers and detail to her paintings. This is a key component of her process, and its ambulatory nature functions as a way for her to gather and harvest visual information and work through her ideas. Although Storm is not performing for anyone, watching her work is akin to watching a contemporary performance piece – she hums, takes breaks to dance, engages others in conversation, and then suddenly decides to move her artwork and clipboard to another location. The peripatetic nature of her process is the work itself and what we have are the remains. Storm favors vibrant hues and likes to incorporate many layers of washes under and over her ‘notes’. She moves seamlessly between mark making with paint markers to painting with a brush, working and re-working the surface until she feels it is finished. As a natural progression of her creative process, Storm has begun directing the installation of her work for gallery exhibitions. Hanging work from the lighting grid, layering her paintings on the wall, spreading on the horizontal and vertical planes, and weaving everything together by painting on and around the works, her installations become active environments that continually evolve and become her new studio.
Monica Valentine (b. 1965)
Monica Valentine’s primary practice takes the form of optically charged sculptures composed of foam shapes that are densely covered with beads and sequins. Valentine is blind and wears prosthetic eyes, having lost her sight at birth. Working with great dexterity, Valentine threads sequins and beads onto thin pins, then uses her hands to feel along the foam form in order to find their placement. The process is rhythmic and calculated; Valentine’s exacting standards of bead size and color, foam shape and material, result in forms that are whole and perfect in their being. Visually rich and luminous, her sculptures are either monochromatic (red is her favorite color), or blooming with multiple hues across the visual plane as Valentine creates layers by juxtaposing the colors of sequins and beads. Color dominates and informs much of Valentine’s life, and her ability to feel the color of an object by its temperature (a form of synesthesia) is just one way that she uses color to orient and empower herself in her environment. Introduced by touch to a SAORI loom in 2019, Valentine weaves in monochromatic yarns until the piece outgrows the loom. Working exclusively in red, orange, green, or blue, her long textiles have a distinctive looped fringe on the left side that forms as she extends the shuttle to feel the yarn’s tension before starting the next row.
Ron Veasey (b. 1957)
An early participant in Creative Growth’s programming, Ron Veasey’s work has evolved in technique and scale in his four decades in the Studio, but his fundamental interest in the human form as a vehicle for color and line remains central to his practice. Whether a sloping neck or a glancing eye, Veasey’s carefully considered portraits are completed methodically and with great intention. Veasey slowly and steadily moves through the stages of image selection, outline, color choice, and then painting. His inspiration comes from fashion magazines or books of photography, and he can take hours or days to identify the perfect muse. Veasey begins a new piece in pencil, paring his subject down to essential detail and often omitting the background in favor of charged color fields. Committing his linework to paper in black marker, Veasey’s interlocking abstract shapes make up the figure and articulate facial expressions. Veasey uses vivid hues of acrylic paint to flood every plane with unidimensional color, including his signature yellow eyes and teeth. The result is an image that is at once graphic and sculptural - a distillation of color and form that allows the viewer to focus on the gesture of a stare. The gaze of the portrait becomes the fundamental subject of the work, unflinching in its connection with the viewer.
Alice Wong (b.1980)
Alice Wong was born in Hong Kong in 1980, and came to Creative Growth in 2003 when she moved to California with her family. Wong concentrated on drawing and ceramics until 2013, when she began painting on vintage photographs using enamel and acrylic markers. Wong has since become known for her photographic transformations. Using blocks of color to enhance or obscure her subjects, an approach reminiscent of Baldessari’s work, Wong forces the viewer to search for contextual clues and meaning by both orienting the viewer and suggesting abstraction. Vividly saturated, Wong’s interpretations of vintage and historical photographs breathe new life into static compositions. With a preference for Victorian and mid-century subject matter, Wong transforms the concept of nostalgia into living documentation.
Ying Ge Zhou (b.1978)
Ying Ge Zhou was born in Guangdong, China and came to Creative Growth in 2010 with a strong aptitude for drawing and painting. Whether she works from fashion magazines or her imagination, Zhou creates enigmatic portraits rendered in simple lines, and suffused with watercolor. Zhou has developed a highly-skilled ability to bring static images to life with her vibrant and elegant portraits that evoke movement and emotion. She often plucks lines of text from magazine pages, lending an element of unexpected humor and irony to her graceful compositions; for example, “Hot Mess” and, “Safe, Secure, Discreet.” Her latest work combines this portrait practice with dreamlike images of figures floating amongst teapots, flowers, and imaginary buildings. And, in a recent expansion of her practice, Zhou has been combining paint and embroidery on fabric to bring texture and dimensionality to her signature style.
Creative Growth Art Center
355 24th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
+1 510 836 2340