In Ada Sadler's "Bathtubbie" series, she photographed and then painted, in exquisite detail, small, square portraits of simple tub toys (duckies and froggies) perched on the lips of sinks. It was whimsical, but perhaps too whimsical? Problem solved in "Recent Paintings: Ada Sadler," her current solo show, in which she photographs and then paints, in exquisite detail, small, square portraits of ... chairs.
And not even interesting chairs, like an electric or a Barcelona, but the ordinary metal and plastic jobs found in university hallways. UC Davis Chair #6 is, in fact, a chair from UC Davis, much like what you would sit on outside a professor's office. Ditto for UC Davis Chair #5 and UCLA Chair #2. But it doesn't matter what Sadler paints. The shafts of sunlight piercing the darkened rooms, the drifting shadows, the unique angles -- it is all stunning, nearly photorealistic, as if you were looming over said chairs, contemplating a moment of repose. The opening reception is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (and the show continues through Sept. 30) at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 956-3560 or visit www.dolbychadwickgallery.com.
-- Michael Leaverton
Writing and Painting
Don't be afraid
You know all the stuff you're afraid of? Really bad stuff, like racism, violent governments, drug epidemics, and child rape? At "Pinta Tu Propio Mundo," meet three women poets who don't seem to be afraid of anything. Daisy Zamora fought Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza and won. Janice Mirikitani compiled and edited books that gave children the chance to publish their feelings about crack cocaine and adults the chance to address incest. S.F. Poet Laureate devorah major reminds us that one out of nine Americans is the subject of racial profiling -- and these are just a few samples of the trio's courage. The name of the show means "paint your own world"; if you've been wondering how to do that in the face of big scary stuff, these three might offer some inspiration. The readings begin at 8 p.m. at Galería de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is free-$12; call 826-8009 or visit www.galeriadelaraza.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Dramatists against downers
In the current epoch of war, political double-dealing, and general bedlam, theatrical sharpshooters have more reason than ever for caustic banter. Here/Now: A Festival of Optimistic Voices, however, takes the view that hope is on the horizon. The fest includes KFOG personality Wes "Scoop" Nisker's one-man show Be Here Wow, in which he speculates on science, Buddhism, and life's simple pleasures. It also features Nina Wise's Now What?, an improv performance that builds on discussions with progressive personalities like Medea Benjamin. Here/Now premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. (and continues through Sept. 25) at the Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida (at Mariposa), S.F. Tickets are $15-28; call 626-0453 or visit www.zspace.org.
-- Nirmala Nataraj
Artists who label their creations "functional ceramics" want you to eat off them, presumably with a nice glass of wine. Not Andrew DeWitt. His "Bad Taste Good" designs feature cannibals, suave bananas, and guys fucking -- apt tableware to go with a 40-ounce. The show runs through Sept. 17 at National Product, 1845 Market (at Guerrero), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-1920 or visit www.nationalproduct.us.
-- Michael Leaverton