Israeli artist Tamar Assaf grew up on the edge of a small town, watching critters roam among wildflowers and orange groves. Quite quickly, though, Assaf’s natural wonderland was overrun by asphalt and housing developments. She channeled her dismay by earning a B.A. in Natural Sciences, but moved to California to pursue her passion for art. However, her obsession with wildlife extinctions and synanthropic species that thrive near humans, like crows, pigeons, and cockroaches, did not dissipate. In fact, it became the cornerstone of her work. With a scientist’s patience, Assaf researches her chosen subject, observing behavior and snapping hundreds of photos before rendering them in impasto. During her residency, “Bay Invaders,” Assaf asks young and old to join her in a provisional studio, where they can explore how non-native aquatic species -- such as skeleton shrimp, carnivorous sea slugs, and Chinese mitten crabs, which arrive on cargo ships every day -- are changing the Bay Area’s ecosystem. Each visitor will be given canvas and access to Assaf’s database. Within the last five years, the Nature Conservancy named San Francisco Bay the most invaded aquatic region in the world, so there are plenty of creatures to choose from.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 2. Continues through Sept. 2, 2012