January 25, 2024 to April 27, 2024

Conversation 8

Featuring work by Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Main Gallery is pleased to present Conversation 8: Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy, a two-person exhibition curated by Bay Area-based curator Nancy Lim. 

This exhibition marks the eighth iteration of the Conversation series launched in 2005 that features a substantive body of work by a local artist alongside works by another artist based outside of the Bay Area. The intention of the series is to allow for a closer look at two artists’ practices as well as to connect dialogues happening locally among artists with those happening across the globe. Past pairings have included artists Farah Al Qasimi (New York) & Marcel Pardo Ariza (San Francisco); Jason Hanasik (San Francisco) & Berndnaut Smilde (Amsterdam); Marcel Dzama (New York) & Alice Shaw (San Francisco); and Oliver Herring (New York) and Tim Sullivan (San Francisco).

Conversation 8 brings together the work of Alicia McCarthy (Bay Area) and Harry Dodge (Los Angeles), two longtime friends with close ties to San Francisco. 

Alicia McCarthy’s current abstractions draw from influences such as punk and queer subcultures, graffiti, folk art, and their related materials and imagery. Using mediums such as house paint, acrylic, and colored pencil, she explores color and mark making, creating compositions that feature interwoven lines reminiscent of the weft and warp of textiles. Each “thread” is simultaneously distinct and enmeshed, its qualities changed by its nearness to others. The resulting works evoke the ties that bind friends, family, and acquaintances into community. Born in Oakland, and a longtime resident of the Bay Area, McCarthy is also associated with San Francisco’s Mission School art movement that emerged during the 1990s and 2000s, centered in the Mission District and closely associated with the San Francisco Art Institute. 

Harry Dodge’s sculptures combine materials that are found, made, and perverted. Built visibly by hand, they can feel provisional, as though Dodge could modify or disassemble them, at will, with speed, in the event of the world’s collapse or for an exploration of the cosmos. Engaged in magical thinking, they meander down paths of thought that wend their way through uncanny spaces—between distance and entanglement, materiality and aura, visibility and disappearance—in search of avenues for relationality and the novel forms that this can take. Dodge is permanent faculty of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, Program in Art. 

“Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy became friends decades ago during a period of their lives that was pivotal to their artistic formations,” said exhibition curator Nancy Lim. “It’s a joy to reunite them and present the paintings and sculptures they are making now in their remarkable practices.” 

About the Artists:
Harry Dodge, an American visual artist and writer whose interdisciplinary practice is characterized by its explorations of relation, materiality and ecstatic contamination, was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. His first book, a work of literary non-fiction entitled My Meteorite, or Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing was released in 2020. Dodge's sculpture, drawing, and video work has been exhibited at many venues national and internationally, including JOAN (Los Angeles), the New Museum (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), The Approach (London), and the Whitney Museum (New York). Dodge is permanent faculty of the School of Art at California Institute of the Arts, Program in Art. 

Alicia McCarthy was born in Oakland, CA and received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her signature style of vibrantly colored, often woven patterns on mixed media panels. McCarthy has exhibited internationally and has received numerous awards, including the Academy of Art and Sciences, SFMOMA's SECA Art Award, and the Artadia Award. Her work is included in a number of important public and private collections, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Museum of California, MIMA the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in Brussels, and the American Academy of Arts & Letters in New York. The artist lives and worked in Oakland, CA. 

About the Curator:
Nancy Lim is Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, where she focuses on postwar and contemporary California art. She previously served as Asian Art Curatorial Fellow at the Guggenheim Museum and as Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

Image Credit: (Reverse above) Photo by Harry Dodge. (Reverse below) Alicia McCarthy, Untitled, 2019. Design by ALTR Studio

Opening Public Reception Details 
Thursday, January 25, 6 – 8 p.m.  
SFAC Main Gallery, War Memorial Veterans Building 
401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 126, San Francisco, CA 94102 
Free and open to the public. No reservations necessary.

Your Guide to Visual Art at the New Year’s Start (KQED Arts)

Review: "Conversation 8: Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy" @ SFAC Gallery, San Francisco (Juxtapoz)

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Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online