SAN FRANCISCO --- The fine folks over at White Walls and the Shooting Gallery are gluttons for punishment. After opening five solid shows last month, they took most of them down to bring in four new bodies of work. At White Walls, Greg Gossel’s work greeted visitors as the first stop in the gallery with his new show GODDAMN! which I must admit I like much better than his show last year in the same space. The works no longer look like displaced graffiti ripped from city walls but rather stand alone as really awesome paintings. I especially dig the abstract painted pieces which only contain traces of the stenciled advertisements that carry through most of the works in this show, and his previous projects. The eyes in them seem whimsical and light-hearted, which is emphasized by the pastel palette from which they emerge. They’re kind of Philip Guston-esque, without being copies and they hold their own integrity.
The project space literally represented the embrace of punishment with Justin Kerson’s Blood and Ink. This show exhibits traces of tattoos done by artists like our friend, Mike Giant, through a sort of printmaking process transferring the excess blood and ink created by the tattoos onto pieces of archival fabric, meant to last longer than the lifetime of the person whose skin in which it is embedded. The process is quite interesting, but I almost missed its significance due to the horror installation in which it’s housed. Look past the bloody handprints and hashtags and you’ll find traces of some of the best tattoo artists out there, carrying a somewhat ephemeral medium into eternity – at least we hope. - Rachel Ralph