“Bill Jenkins”

Pub date November 18, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionVisual Art

REVIEW The fewer direct descriptions of Bill Jenkins’ show at Jancar Jones Gallery the better. I went into the secret small space having liked Jenkins’ contribution to last year’s University of California MFA exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum. Jenkins’ meditative approach to objects seemed to journey through a door of perception that was opened by Alicia McCarthy in the same show — a door that called lazy voyeurism into question. Yet even with that experience in mind, Jenkins’ first solo show in SF pulled the floor out from under me. After entering the gallery, I spent my first moments realizing the limits of my expectations, in particular that mind-controlled urge to immediately be visually wowed by goodies. It isn’t that the objects Jenkins finds and recreates aren’t attractive, but that the depth of their presence isn’t obvious. The longer you look, the more you’re rewarded. The minimalism and austerity of Jenkins’ practice is uncharacteristically warm. He has somewhat of a kinship with McCarthy and the Bay Area painter Todd Bura in his understatement and his creative explorations of absence, of the relationships between things, and of how time creates objects as it erodes or destroys them. One Jenkins work that isn’t part of this show is a mirror covered in spray paint. Move from that spot of obscured reflection to areas of gray and off-white and you’re almost there, at the door of the room where these works reside.

BILL JENKINS Through Dec. 13. Thurs.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. Jancar Jones Gallery, 965 Mission, SF. (415) 281-3770, www.jancarjones.com