Northside SF
Abstract portraits by Liv Zutphen, Sept. 22 through Oct. 30 at Focus Gallery

One of the more interesting things to do in North Beach these days is to stop by the Focus Gallery on Upper Grant Avenue to browse and to talk about art and the neighborhood with proprietor-photographer John Perino. This promises to become even more interesting later this month when Perino’s gallery – a repository of books, prints, paintings, photography, and other bohemian memorabilia –will feature the work of San Francisco-born artist Liv Zutphen, who has been painting since she was a child.

Eye of the Baked Potato, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18 in.,
Focus Gallery, North Beach
She calls her work “California Abstract Expressionist Portraits,” which features a bold display of colors that leap off the walls and sock the viewer right between the eyes. Eye of the Baked Potato, shown here, is named for the small Southern California club where Zutphen plays jazz guitar most Monday nights. The painting displays a restless group of rectangles – a kind of Euclidian exercise much like free-form jazz itself. On this canvas, Zutphen employs swishes and blocks of tawny burnt sienna and bleached blue. Others, some significantly larger, use more exuberant colors and squiggly brush lines that are perhaps reminiscent of Joan Miro.

The Zutphen exhibition devotes two canvases to her present stomping grounds: Venice, Calif. Venice  2008 is depicted in black and white tones, while the 2010 piece features prominent pastels.

It’s no coincidence that Zutphen is showing her work in North Beach, where she frequently visited as a youngster to soak up the neighborhood’s ambience.

Zutphen’s exhibition coincides with Art Walk held in the area Sept. 24–25, when she will also read her own poetry at Focus Gallery. Additionally, the German-born, Beat Generation poet ruth weiss will be in residence for readings Sept. 24.

Focus Gallery: 1534 Grant Avenue 415-706-0898,

Bookmark and Share Print Page PDF
Arts & Entertainment Article Archives