Preview – UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence @ Modern Eden Gallery [SF]

Universe, Art of Existence Curated by Michael Cuffe

Tonight–Saturday, April 12, 2014San Francisco‘s Modern Eden Gallery hosts it’s opening for UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence, a brand new “multi-artist exhibition curated and conceived” by Michael Cuffe, founder of digital, contemporary art documagazine, Warholian.  Reducing the show to it’s most basic premise, Cuffe explains that he “asked over 60 artists to create works based around space and the cosmos.”

Here’s a slightly more detailed breakdown via the press release:

UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence will bring together artists from San Francisco and beyond on the subject of space, the cosmos, galaxies, celestial bodies, planets, stars, and more. Also explored is the larger outer paradigm of the Universe that relates to things of an atomic scale, such as elements of quantum physics, atoms, and energy streams. Each artist has been encouraged to interpret the Universe itself as either an outer or inner world.

While attempting to post this preview last night, I got off track and found myself engaged in an instant message conversation with a friend of mine.  I knew that I wanted to post something for this show, so I was partially divided between what I had intended to do and where I was being drawn by the unsolicited contact.  The conversation began to mutate rapidly and I found myself drawn between a responsibility to this post–a “responsibility” that I assigned to myself and nourished as such, mind you–and the organic interaction with a real life person, albeit through digital means.  As our back and forth progressed, it materialized into a discussion about responsibilities and that pull, itself.  It became about priorities, how we process information, how we attribute importance, where we attribute it, and how it all affects our perceptions of ourselves and the world at large.  Being torn between different options and pathways like a Choose Your Own Adventure book can be equated to the idea of floating in space, drifting, and opting to either push toward the original destination–be it planet, space station, moon, or floating spacejunk–or working your way back to the vessel that took you there.  Once I could recognize and confirm its legitimacy as one of those essential rejuvenating communications that I need to take part in with someone from time to time for perspectives sake–a substitute for the LSD days that I abandoned so long ago–I could allow myself to let go of the rope and drift deeper out into the cosmos… deeper into my own motivations; dissolving some of that unnecessary self-imposed stress that doesn’t really stem from any external factors at all, as I may initially perceive.  The calls are coming from inside the house.  Sometimes I have to make that phone call to myself and revisit the voicemails that I left be reminded of that.

While attempting to post this preview last night, I got on track and found myself disengaged and in a delayed message conversation with myself.

Universe: The Art of Existence.  The title implies a larger context than simply the cosmos, just like the cosmos reflects something bigger than ourselves; just like how there is no subject bigger than the cosmos; just like how there is no subject larger than our cosmic selves.  On one hand, outer space seems so empty.  On another… it is so endlessly vast and all encompassing.  It’s outer, but we’re within it.  It’s so “empty,” yet contains everything that we’ve ever known–including ourselves.  In essence, it involves the most ancient and primitive roots of existence, yet is forever woven into the concepts of the future.  It’s simultaneously both Frontier and TomorrowLand.

But why is space so closely and forever associated with the future?  Maybe it’s because, the more this planet gets fucked up and our own lives gradually transform into more and more mangled fiascos, it represents a way out, an opportunity to drift off and travel untethered.  Maybe it’s because, the more that we become bored with the planet that we exist on/in and the limitations that it may seem to hold for us–or, at least, our limitations in perception regarding it all–space travel embodies the ideas and potential for new potentials and ideas.  Scientifically and technologically, our ability to travel into the outer cosmos relies on and is a reflection of our growth and advancement in those departments; new frontiers, large leaps for mankind, and what not.  On a more existential level, it is representative of our place in a much larger diagram and design and any questions that we might have about our roles within it.  From a psychological perspective, I feel that it represents what we’re not focusing on, what else is out there; what we haven’t taken care of or dealt with.  It’s the inevitability of having to deal with the inevitable, the outlying territories of our narrow hyper-focus, that not only mirrors it, but operates as its fuel supply.  Space is the future, the past, and the present.  We are both celestial bodies and within one, just as our world exists within greater more expansive one.  We’ll explore and achieve a better grasp on the cosmos (the larger universe outside ourselves, yet we exist within), but we’ll do it “in the future,” once we handle all of this important shit first and once technology catches up.  Once we invent the right tools.  [Note: The tools are inside the house, as well]

The marvels of space have intrigued us since the beginning of time; even providing our foundation for the concept of time, itself.  The recent update of astronomer/astrophysicist/cosmologist/author/science communicator, Carl Sagan‘s groundbreaking 13-episode program, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, from 1980–now hosted by the similarly credentialed Neil deGrasse Tyson as Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey–is further evidence of the staying power of the subject and our endless fascination with the outer world and the spaces between.  It’s not only beneficial for us to look up and out occasionally, for both inspiration and perspective, it’s essential.  It’s paramount.  When we look up to consider what exactly is floating around out there, it places us in the position to remind ourselves of that answer: we are.

Space out on a selection of “far out” preview images, featuring writhing celestial bodies and all matters of wacky cosmic space shit, below the following event details.


Rick Berry, Trevor Young, Casey Gray, Charmaine Olivia, Mab Graves, John Wentz, Christina Mrozik, Jaclyn Alderete, Brenton Bostwick, Leilani Bustamante, Alec Huxley, Lyrica Glory, Meryl Pataky, Michael Cuffe, Steve Javiel, Melissa Morgan, Bradley Platz, Daniel J. Valadez, Helice Wen, Steve Hughes, Olivia Chen, Syd Bee, Cory Benhatzel, Chris Blackstock, Joshua Coffy, Ryan De La Hoz, Carly Ivan Garcia, Jane Kenoyer, Jake Kobrin, Hugh Leeman, Leon Loucheur, Johannah O’ Donnell, Rich Pellegrino, Jena Rockwood, Eve Skylar, Adam Caldwell, Michael Page, David Natale, Chuck Sperry, Xiau-Fong Wee, Adam Ziskie, Melissa Hartley, Marcos Lafarga, Lee Harvey Roswell, Allison “Hueman” Torneros, C3 – Christopher Charles Curtis, Martin Stensaas, David Marc Grant, Robert Bowen, Wendy Gadzuk, Andrea McLeod, Holly Matthews, Erik Flores, Donia, Amy Mastrine, Kaitlin Beckett, Lisa Kurt, Gemma Bayly, Penelope Moore, Peter Chan, Dave MacDowell, Scott Listfield, and a special online video performance art piece from Sarah Muehlbauer.


UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence”
Curated by Michael Cuffe / Presented by Modern Eden Gallery


Saturday, April 12th



Modern Eden Gallery
403 Francisco Street (@Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94133



Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
A selection of artists and the curator will be in attendance
Show on view until Saturday, May 3, 2014
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

[click images to enlarge]

Alec Huxley

alec huxley superstition
Acrylic on Panel
16 x 28 inches

Amy Mastrine

Oil on Panel
12 x 12 inches

Casey Gray

Casey Gray cosmic booty
Cosmic Booty
Aerosol Acrylic on Panel
11.25 x 11.25 inches
Framed to 12 x 12 inches

Adam Ziskie

Into The Abyss
Watercolor, Graphite, and Ink on Panel
12 x 12 inches

Lee Harvey Roswell

light eater
Light Eater
Oil on Wood Panel
12 x 12 inches

Mab Graves

To See A World In A Grain Of Sand
Oil and Acrylic
7 x 9 inches
Framed to 12 x 14 inches

Dave MacDowell

new mother nature macdowell
The New Mother Nature
Acrylic on Panel
16 x 20 inches

Peter Chan

Wishful Thinking
Oil on Panel
16 x 20 inches

Joshua Coffy

The Temple of Ursa Major
Mixed Media (Acrylic and Paper) on Wood Panel
12 x 12 inches

Trevor Young

Oil on Panel
16 x 20 inches

Daniel J. Valadez

valadez The Ingredients
The Ingredients
Oil on Panel
16 x 20 inches


Within Without
Graphite on Paper
6.5 x 6.5 inches
Framed to 12 x 12 inches

Johannah O’Donnell

Valar Morghulis
Acrylic on Panel
16 x 28 inche

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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