Cole, 23, and Garcia, 22, are the artistic directors of detour dance, a company they founded after meeting as students at the University of San Francisco. Together the two have chemistry and perfect comic timing — a combination that's rare in the world of dance. In their work-in-progress video "Pedestrian Crossing," Garcia and Cole sit at a table they put in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle, where they employ arm gestures and other maneuvers to dance with each other and wrestle with a teapot.

At one point, Garcia is at the corner of Fell and Baker waiting for the light to change. Bikes, taxis, and trucks pass by. We see a homeless person pushing a shopping cart. Yet the show continues, as Garcia and a troupe of pedestrians around her dance in unison and opposition.

Whether it's the park or the beach or some other venue, Garcia and Cole say getting out in public environs turns those spaces into venues akin to Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. "We're trying," Cole says, "to explore spaces that you pass by every day."

The Landscape Painter:
Michelle Tholen
Curving Rier #5 by Michelle Tholen

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau waxes eloquent about the lure of nature, including the inspiration he got from light, writing of a moment when the woods "were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead, if they had been slumbering in their graves, as some suppose. There needs no stronger proof of immortality. All things must live in such a light." It's that sort of natural light that Michelle Tholen captures in her paintings, a light that inspires even as it is presented without sentiment. In the wrong artistic hands, sunsets and waning moments of daylight can become cliché and mawkish. (See the work of Thomas Kinkade. Or try not to.) Tholen's landscapes are timeless riffs that almost abstract the horizon — a mix between reflection and refraction.

Her work speaks to the deep connection between sky and physical earth, as in Smooth River, where a winding waterway is bathed in the falling sun that peeks from above. The division of sky and ground give Tholen's landscape paintings an ethereal feeling and a balanced symmetry. Surprisingly, Tholen is self-taught. A San Francisco resident, she graduated with a degree in accounting in 1997 and worked as an accountant for three years before embracing painting. She found a niche in landscapes one day in 2002, after she finished a climb at Samuel P. Taylor Park in West Marin, peered at the sky, and was taken by the sheen it made on nearby water. Before that day, Tholen said she was feeling "lost" in her life. Her first landscape painting was a chance to recreate "a moment I fell in love with." The subsequent paintings seem to capture that same momentous feeling.

The Evocative Dancer:
Dohee Lee
Dohee Lee in GaNADa

A hat made of suitcases that open up. A giant mask of a woman's face with cheeks that bulge out like balloons. Dance moves that stampede across the stage but also decelerates to a pace that seems like slow motion. When Dohee Lee performs these dances inspired by Korean and Western traditions, it's impossible to take your eyes off her. Even people who know nothing about Korea's music and dance traditions are taken in by the unique visual touches, music, and movement that Lee creates. Her dance is cinematic. It's also shamanic — an homage to spirits and past lives that come alive in her hand gestures, costumes, and leaps from one spot to the next. This blend of modern and ancient, of West and East, inspires much of the Oakland resident's work, including her series called "Mago," named for a mother-goddess of Korean mythology but steeped in Lee's personal story.

Born on Jeju Island in South Korea, where shamanic tradition is popular, Lee has danced professionally since 1996. She has a master's in Korean traditional music and dance from Korea's Yong-in University. "It's about interconnectedness," Lee says of "Mago." "It's about birth, self-discovery, confrontation, action, and re-birth." At Lee's performances, the music that she composes — full of beautifully dissonant notes (think Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass) — is enough to draw in audiences. In fact, Lee has sung with the Kronos Quartet. She has also presented her work at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York, and has received grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts. "I always think I'm emerging as an artist," she says. "I'm always developing work that I can do much better."

The Experimental Photographer-Filmmaker:
Eliane Lima
Movie still from Eliane Lima‘s Djinn

There's something hard to place when you see an Eliane Lima photo or film. Where exactly did she take that image of the young girls on the street — the one where one is playing contentedly with a hoop while another looks like she's going to cry in pain? And what exactly is that film about — the one called Djinn that shows a mysterious series of mannequins that seem as alive as the people who stand there in the night air? We aren't really told. And that's how Lima prefers it. She wants the audience to bring their own interpretations, their own feelings, to her imagery. "When the artist does not give work to us as a finished statement with explanations," Lima, 45, a Brazilian native, has said, "a different kind of relationship is created between the images and the audience, switching it from recognition to engagement with the piece."

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

It is hard to compare these artists, given the difference in their media. The most exciting, as far as I can tell from these photos, are performancers Doho Lee, the dancers, one of which is a wheelchair and the singer/guitarist Hadero. But I am influenced by the beauty of the photographs: that of those two dancers - Wow!, and the photo and description of the performance of Doho Lee is great. And the singer/guitarist Hadero looks like she is terrific.

Elaine Starkman
Elaine Starkman

Grand. Despite all the difficulties of our time, here is guy who has done somethingwith himself. Thanks for running this. Elaine

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.