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images: Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Steve Harlow 

Jan 18 - Jan 28: 10 - 4 pm daily and by appt

Encinitas, CA - Please join us in the ANNEX 1 warehouse gallery for San Diego painter Steve Harlow filling the Oolong Gallery walls with entangled figure paintings. The ongoing oil on paper project is titled Demographics, and the installation functions as a 100+ work-in-progress preview of his painting cycle.

A pattern of entangled figure paintings celebrates our connections with each other in our living earth. They say intelligence is a wave which runs through us and we participate as individual iterations on the human pattern. This cycle of paintings celebrates that dance by representing our complexity.

Steve Harlow (b. 1944, Inglewood, CA) is a painter based in San Diego who switched from drawing to painting at six years old. His formal art education started at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, continued to Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma State University where he graduated in 1970 with a BA in Art (Studio). His primary instructors were William Moorehouse (painting and materials), Catherine Armstrong (Life Drawing), and Chester Amyx (painting). Before coming to San Diego, Harlow worked and exhibited in New York City and San Francisco where he resided over extended periods of time, a source of inspiration for the current ‘Demographics’ painting cycle on view at Oolong Gallery. Harlow now paints in the Rancho Bernardo studio he shares with performance artist Ruth Parson, who has ceramic work on view in the foyer space.

'This warehouse exhibit marks my completion of the first 100 paintings of the projected 300 painting cycle celebrating the connected reality of our presence in the living earth. It is a visual dance, a visual prayer. Each oil painting is on 22" x 30" printmaker paper and expresses a unique interpretation of a consistent figure / ground layout featuring whole figures formed by abutting two half figures. The resulting pattern of their installation strings a line of standing or dancing figures along the full length of the gallery’s 60 foot wall and more. 

The foyer exhibit of storyboard paintings are in memory of the young Chinese novelist and filmmaker, Hu Bo, RIP. They are an homage to his first and final movie, An “Elephant Sitting Still” (2018) which depicts the difficult lives led by four characters in the course of one eventful day in a bleak Northern Chinese industrial city. Some of their actions were honorable and some are decidedly not. My interest in painting scenes from the movie is in evoking drama and narrative with large brushes on small canvases. In this way, the paintings are also in homage to the painter extraordinaire, David Park.’ — Steve Harlow

closer view of the work here · his profile here

Notes on Ruth Parson’s ceramic pieces on view in the foyer gallery:

‘The thing about clay, for me anyway, is that I don’t have to think about it, I don’t need to know what it’s about. Make a good hunk of clay. Put your hands, eventually your arms and your chest, maybe your leg, and let them have at it. I loved Rodin’s work. It spoke to me, literally, and that is why I started sculpting. I paid attention when he began to leave in the clay, only what needed to be told. Some of these heads are the originals for casting and were shown up high on bodies that are no longer with them. The others were always meant to be on the ground. Something about earth and ascension. Hence, the flats of earth and plant. 

I call this group, Heads. Their names are Owl Man, Smash Head, Howler, and Man With Figure. The clays, which I made, range from stoneware to white and raku white with sand.’ — Ruth Parson

Oolong Gallery  

687 2nd St. Encinitas, CA 92024

Telephone +1 858 229 2788