Today we bring you an article from our San Francisco/Bay Area sister publication Art Practical: a review of the Hughen/Starkweather exhibition at Electric Works. The works in this show use the architecture of the now-closed span of the Bay Bridge as their point of departure. Author Mary Anne Kluth notes, “[they] build a nuanced, haunting portrait of a Bay Area icon.” The article was originally published on September 30, 2013.
Valediction, at Electric Works, is a collaborative exhibition of drawings on paper and Mylar by Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather, known together as Hughen/Starkweather.
The exhibition uses the recently decommissioned eastern span of the Bay Bridge as a starting point―the sole video piece even documents the pair’s last trip across the bridge. Hughen/Starkweather traded the pieces in the exhibition between their studios until they were deemed complete, with some artworks making several trips back and forth. All of the works on paper, such as Valediction 3, from the Bay Bridge Project (2013), feature geometric patterns, marks suggestive of sea and landscape, and pigment dispersions that appear influenced by the duo’s research and site visits, which took place over several years as the new eastern span was constructed.
But the works in Valediction are anything but simple documentation. Requiem 22, from the Bay Bridge Project (2013), done in gouache, ink, and pencil on Mylar, bears thin, mechanical hatch marks that have been covered with translucent white ink grids. The wall can be seen through the materials, their insubstantiality suggesting an ephemeral memory, one already ghostly and fading.