Downtown San Jose art gallery declares “the second coming of art and design” with new exhibits
October 20, 2016
At first glance, San Jose, a city in the heart of the Silicon Valley, hardly seems like a destination for contemporary art. But Anno Domini, a small art gallery on San Jose’s South First Street proves otherwise with its two current avant-garde exhibits.
Since opening in 2000 in a refurbished movie theatre, Anno Domini has been delivering eclectic works to the public without regard to the distinction between “high” and “low” art—a separation that, in my opinion, only exists because some people are uncomfortable with certain forms of expression. Currently, the two exhibits on display at Anno Domini force viewers to confront that uneasiness.
When you enter the main room, to the left is Leon Ka’s (AKA Kafre) exhibition, “Things, Mereology, and Schemes,” an assemblage of small gold and black occult-ish pieces that combine into larger mystical pieces. According to the artist, the show is an exercise in examining what is natural and unnatural, the play between the parts and the whole and the structure of tables, from their rows and columns to their variables.
In addition to being an artist, Kafre works as a philosopher and mathematician—which is especially evident in this show. By incorporating numerical and geometrical elements into his pieces, the artist questions what exactly is “natural.” For example, in the piece “Quantum Operandi Valet,” Kafre integrates the natural imagery of the sun, trees and animals with “unnatural” things, such as generated wave patterns, perfect polygons, buildings and cryptic symbols.
With the natural and unnatural both boasting symmetry, it becomes clear that the line between the two categories is blurry. And that theme of obscurity transitions seamlessly from the individual pieces to the overall installation, giving the entire exhibit a grander flair.
The second exhibit featured at the gallery is the “International Art of Zines Show & Sale.” A zine (short for “magazine”) is a small circulated work that is often self-published. Anno Domini has a long history with zines and is credited with curating one of the first ever zine exhibits back in 2001.
While Anno Domini has hosted previous zine exhibits before, for the first time the gallery is featuring zines from outside the country and also selling copies of the publications in order to support the artists.
These zines display a wide variety of artistic expression and provide a refreshing glimpse into the works and lives of artists. And the publications touch upon numerous topics, from sexual assault and feminism, to cartoons and poetry.
Some of my personal favorites: a zine with cartoon sketches of dinosaurs, one with beautiful pop photography of animals and textures and finally, a hilarious G.G. Allin Kids Activity & Coloring Book that paradoxically combines an offensive rock and roll star with the innocent pastime of coloring.
The zine exhibition presents a candy shop of sorts—a look into the indulgence that artists wish to take with their work. With these small publications, the artist becomes much like a chef cooking for himself. And when artists are only concerned with pleasing themselves, they create their best work.
As a whole, Anno Domini’s two exhibits appeal to all of our sensibilities at once. On one side of the gallery, there’s the large geometrical and analytical pieces and on the other, there’s the mayhem of innovation and extravagance. Together, these shows are beautifully cohesive.
Anno Domini is on 366 South First Street in downtown San Jose
Contact Max Eberhart firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852