New Art Exhibition 'Duet' Featuring Paintings by Shell Cardon and Katherine Leighnor Opens at Baxter Chang Patri Fine Art in San Francisco, June 1st

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The new art exhibition features new paintings by two dynamic California women artists. Their work is inspired by movement of energy. Opening reception for the artists is June 1st 5:30-8:30pm. The show ends July 31st.

Baxter Chang Patri Fine Art is pleased to announce “Duet”, a two person exhibition that features a selection of new paintings by artists Katherine Leighnor and Shell Cardon. The exhibition opens on June 1st, 2006 and will run through July 31st, 2006. A reception for the artists will be held on Thursday, June 1st from 5:30 to 8:30pm.

Katherine Leighnor and Shell Cardon both through the use paint, describe relationships between matter and energy. Leighnor’s luminous paintings are her response to the phenomena of Sunspots, the cyclical increase of electromagnetic activity that occurs on the sun, and how their radiant energy might affect the rhythm of our own lives. Cardon’s paintings translate simple events in the world around us into matter through her use of thick, sensuous paint. While Leighnor’s paintings bring the distant into our reach, Cardon’s paintings make everyday sensations and moments in our immediate world visible. They play a “Duet,” each bringing to life events, Cardon’s near and subtle, Leighnor’s astronomical and far, for our eyes to behold.    

Shell Cardon’s dynamic large scale drip paintings transform the events of everyday life into color, texture and movement. This group of paintings deals with Cardon’s memories of summer from her childhood in the Washington DC area. Moments such as jumping into a pool, biting into a piece of candy or the blaze of sparklers on the 4th of July, are interpreted in her layered, colorful works. Like these passing moments, her paintings are not static. Pulsating patterns of color seem to extend off the canvas into infinity. Cardon writes about her paintings, “They are a snapshot of life -- fleeting, impermanent and ready to move on in a blink.”

Cardon’s paintings have rhythm; whether the beat is slow or fast, the paint never seems to stop moving. In Fizz, charged black and white circles spin both away and into each other evoking a chemical reaction. The textured bubbles also reflect the sensation of a refreshing sip of cold soda. In Garden Party, the viewer bears witness to a diaspora, green and blue swirling shapes penetrate into a white void. This painting represents a dispersion of matter, be it atoms or children running in a garden on a hot summer day. Shell Cardon writes that her “first and last passion is to show in my paintings -- life as I see it -- the way the world looks below the surface and all that moves and is alive there. My paintings are about energy and movement -- the languid to the powerful and intense.” Through her energetic use of paint, Cardon translates moments into bold and tangible entities. Her paintings are experiential and highly physical as is her process. Cardon does not use brushes, but instead pours between 4 and 20 gallons of acrylic paint on each painting. The results are multi-layered paintings that pulsate with life.

Shell Cardon was born in Maryland. She received her Law degree from Loyala University and her degree in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She lives and works in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a studio in each city.

Centered upon the phenomenon of Sunspots, Katherine Leighnor creates paintings which radiate with both light and motion. The translucent, luscious colors and mysterious markings draw the viewer into a realm without gravity. Katherine Leighnor writes about her focus on Sunspots, “Begun in 1997, this series is about the electromagnetic energy of our sun that manifests in the appearance of Sunspots that cycle approximately every eleven years.” Through these captivating paintings, Leighnor makes us aware of changes, both on the Sun, on Earth and in our own lives.

The Sunspot paintings are watercolor on paper, which are mounted on wood and coated with resin. The resin is sanded to create a matte effect. The matte surface has a quality that is both sensuous and inviting while being repellent at the same time, and thus attaining a mysterious effect. The results are vibrant, experiential paintings which seem like they are intimate visions as well as portrayals of events that are light years away. San Francisco art critic Kenneth Baker writes, “Leighnor’s pictures are abstractions in which materials- watercolor and resin- and process determine much of the visual outcome. Yet her pieces irresistibly suggest astronomical photographs: infrared images of sunspots or views of distant nebulae in negative.”

In the triptych Dipole Shifting, translucent shades of azure shift from light to dark evoking changes in the sky over the course of a day. This painting is part of the Shift series, which originated out of the Sunspot series paintings. Katherine Leighnor writes, “The Shift Series is about the shifting electromagnetic forces that are also occurring on our Earth. Our planet’s magnetic field like the Sun’s is decreasing, and has been in a rapid decline since the 1960’s.” The black watercolor painting evokes the dispersion of matter on a grand scale and also seems to resemble the beating of a heart, as the pattern seems to mimic the waves of an echocardiogram. Thus, Katherine Leighnor’s paintings are of a dual nature, the viewer feels that they are facing both the known and unknown. Dipole Shifting is reminiscent of flowing water and the changing sky that we witness everyday as well as awe inspiring photographs of astronomical events.

In contrast to the celestial tones of Dipole Shifting, Binary Sunspot 2006 is awash in yellow, orange and coral tones. Two radiant Sunspots blaze in diagonal opposition to each other. The expansive painting is reminiscent of a panoramic summer sunset or the glow of a distant fiery explosion. No matter what scale we view this painting from, human or astronomical, it evokes both internal and external changes. Leighnor writes, “The Earth is changing and, as the Earth re-arranges its physical characteristics, we who are part of the Earth will do so too. Is it in fear or in joy that we each face this transition?”

Katherine Leighnor was born in Kansas and received her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Leighnor’s work is in numerous public and private collections including the Banana Republic and Gap collection’s in San Francisco.

About the Gallery

Located in the Hotel Nikko at 222 Mason Street, Baxter Chang Patri Fine Art specializes in contemporary painting, sculpture and photography, and provides art-consulting services for corporate and secondary markets. The gallery seeks to cultivate a collection of artworks which represent a wide scope of media, function, and aesthetic; to showcase works of emerging or mid-career local and international artists; and to be a space which fosters, encourages, and inspires the appreciation and enjoyment of art.

Calendar Editors, Please Note:


WHAT: New Two Person Exhibition

WHO:    Shell Cardon and Katherine Leighnor    

WHEN: June 1–July 31st, 2006

        Reception for the Artists: June 1st, 5:30-8:30 pm


222 Mason Street, off the main lobby of the Hotel Nikko

RSVP (415) 397-2000 or at

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