Making the Cut

With all the politicking, incestuousness, and abundance of artists looking for a way to get their feet in the door, it sure is tough getting noticed in the art world. So each fall, Southern Exposure announces an open call for entries for a theme-based show juried by a heavy-hittin' curator -- giving pretty much anybody a shot at having his work in a reputable gallery.

David Ross, SFMOMA's new director and judge for this year's show "Nothing But Time," spent a full day whittling 650 entries down to a final 80 pieces. The sheer volume and disparate aesthetics of the work make for an uneven exhibit -- though there are a few gems worth taking a look at.

One of those pieces, Hilary Harkness' exquisitely painted Dying From Home, and Lost, shows a gaggle of lovely, tiny women clad in powder blue evening gowns and bikinis standing within what looks like a ballet performance gone surreal. The perfectly coiffed young ladies seem to be performing experiments on their cohorts, as the tops of a few of the women's heads have been cut off (albeit very cleanly) and they are presumably being fed with ideas. The painting radiates with dark, dreamy gray and green hues and the foreground is littered with a dead pig and cow, further adding to the psychological complexity of this fanciful and somewhat macabre landscape.

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"Nothing But Time" is up through Dec. 19 at Southern Exposure, 401 Alabama (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-2141.

-- Marcy Freedman

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