Conversation 8: Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy

New exhibition brings together work by Bay Area-based artist Alicia McCarthy and Los Angeles-based artist Harry Dodge

Image: Left: Untitled (2015), Painting by Alicia McCarthy / Right: dissolve me + the love between (2015), Sculpture by Harry Dodge, Courtesy of the Artists

Image: Left: Untitled (2015), Painting by Alicia McCarthy / Right: dissolve me + the love between (2015), Sculpture by Harry Dodge, Courtesy of the Artists

SAN FRANCISCO, December 26, 2023 — The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Main Gallery is thrilled to present Conversation 8: Harry Dodge and Alicia McCarthy, a two-person exhibition curated by Bay Area-based curator Nancy Lim. 

Conversation 8 opens on January 25, 2024 at the SFAC Main Gallery in the War Memorial Veterans Building and will be on view through April 27, 2024.

"For nearly two decades, as part of the "Conversation" exhibition series, the Arts Commission Main Gallery has cultivated a space and provided an opportunity for artists to hold deep and meaningful conversations though their art,” said Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs. “We are delighted to keep the conversation going by juxtaposing the paintings of Alicia McCarthy and sculptures of Harry Dodge as part of Conversation 8.” 

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.” 

We're excited to present this anticipated exhibition that highlights the works of acclaimed artists Alicia McCarthy and Harry Dodge as part of Conversation 8,” said Carolina Aranibar-Fernandez, Director of Galleries and Public Programs. “Fostering a dialogue between Dodge's boundary-pushing sculptures and McCarthy's paintings that intricately weave interconnections across communities makes for a fascinating conversation between these two artists.”

Exhibition Details
Conversation 8: Harry Dodge & Alicia McCarthy
January 25 – April 27, 2024
SFAC Main Gallery, War Memorial Veterans Building
401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 126, San Francisco, CA 94102
Wednesday – Saturday, noon – 5 p.m.
Free and open to the public

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

Public Programs
A series of public programming events will be held throughout the run of the exhibition. Details are being finalized, and will be posted on the SFAC Galleries webpage.

All programs take place at the SFAC Main Gallery and are free and open to the public.

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About the San Francisco Arts Commission
The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries, and Art Vendor Licensing. To learn more, visit sfartscommission.org.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

March 20
/
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

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

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
/
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

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

Community Investments Committee Meeting

April 16
/
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

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

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

March 18
/
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online