Unless this is your first visit to the site, you know we currently have Jeremy Fish’s “Yesterdays and Tomorrows” here at FFDG. 100 drawings, 4 paintings, 4 laser etchings, and 4 prints celebrate Fish’s last 20 years in San Francisco through a dedicated and painstaking love for this city. But get lost in the humorous, metamorphic imagery and you might miss their historical significance.
While the earliest work in the show only dates back to 2002, these drawings encapsulate a history of SF during one of its most volatile and expansive epochs. The long days at EMB, cheap rents, and illcommunication may have been brushed away by the tech boom, its collapse, and subsequent rebirth, but the images here never lose a sense of genuine love for this city.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Fish loves this city – and it loves him back. Walk down a main street and you’ll see his graphics on t shirts, skateboard decks, menus, statues and even embedded in skin as tattoos. While it’s therefore easy to see his work just about anywhere, these drawings, paintings, and etchings can’t be missed.
There are sharpie lines stacked like bricks, light pencil markings that lead the way, and incredibly smooth lines created by a guy who drinks a lot of espresso. In the age of mechanical reproduction (and profuse digital images) these are works of art you just can’t miss.
Consider the graphic versus these drawings this way:
"One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and the renewal of mankind." --- Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936
So, wear your SuperFishal t shirt, reactivate the magic of these drawings in person, and shatter some traditions. It doesn’t get much more “San Francisco” than that.
- by Rachel Ralph - rachel(at)fecalface.com