Serena Bocchino’s vivid abstracts inspired by jazz 

An intriguing Bocchino creation adorns the approach of ArtHaus gallery. Titled “Rock Boppers” – the name is painted on the door – the enamel on acrylic panel installed behind the door is an enticing illusion, and invitation to enter and explore.

The South-of-Market Street gallery is showing paintings by New Jersey artist Serena Bocchino in an exhibition titled “Then and Now,” featuring works created from 1993 through the present.

Bocchino’s art is centered around line-based paintings, inspired by jazz: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker.

Initially she worked with oil paint and graphite on canvas, before eventually moving to enamel-based paint with graphite.

Her lines correspond to improvisation in jazz. In her earlier works, graphite lines were drawn below the surface of oil paint. In later paintings, the lines poured in enamel-based paint are set above the surface.

In a recent profile in Artvoices Magazine, Bocchino spoke of her decision to use enamel rather than oil: “Enamel does have that seductive, shimmering appeal to it. It’s difficult to get away from. I struggled to part with oil paint, to be honest, but enamel was too tempting.”

The show includes four selections from her I-POP show in New York. She painted small figurines with enamel, photographed them, manipulated the photos, framed them in plexiglass and painted enamel on the plexiglass.

Two “Fever Live” paintings – poured red enamel with graphite lines and hand-applied gold leaves – were inspired by Peggy Lee’s rendition of the song “Fever.” Bocchino creations are neither tame nor predictable. Her lines of graphite and paint sail and dance across the canvas, looping in seeming abandon but with a discipline evident the longer one gazes at them.

In working with enamel, she shows fearlessness in application, ranging from incredibly fine lines in “Right Away” and “Skip, Jump, Twirl” to thick applications as she employs different grades of gloss in “Universe Shift.” She is adventurous in her mixture of colors, and it all works. Looking at her art in natural light and then artificial light, the viewer sees entirely different paintings.

Artvoices Magazine says, “…Bocchino does not mumble nor spew the musical language folded into the artwork: she speaks it loudly and clearly.”

IF YOU GO

Serena Bocchino Then and Now (1993-2014)

Where: ArtHaus Gallery, 411 Brannan St., S.F.

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays; closes Dec. 23

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 977-0223, http://arthaus-sf.com

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Jeanne Powell

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