Varied offerings from Rudy VanderLans 

A striking contrast distinguishes the two parts of “Emigre at Gallery 16,” works by photographer and graphic designer Rudy VanderLans on view at Gallery 16.

Desert landscape photos, wilderness and suburban, greet visitors entering the main gallery area.

The landscapes are poetic and evocative, marked by long vistas of empty space and an unexpected, striking quietness.

The black-and-white wilderness photos capture the crackling heat and dryness of midday. Parched plants, some of them dying, and distant mountain backgrounds add to the photographs’ impact.

The color photographs are of suburban landscapes. Although they have a similar quietude as that of the wilderness photos, the nature of the human habitation gives them a sad and hollow sensibility.

A bare, empty highway and crisscrossing high wires on poles dominate one photo. Occupying the foreground is a cactus-like tree, a telephone pole, and a traffic sign with an arrow drawn on it, so loosely attached to the pole that it’s almost falling off.

In another photo, what appears to be a vacant lot has a “for rent” sign.

There is a complete change of pace in the second half of the show, which occupies a large area adjoining the main gallery. Covers, posters and collages from “Emigre,” a graphic arts magazine that VanderLans founded in 1984 fill the space in the exhibition, a ­25-year celebration of the magazine’s founding.

The covers and the variety of colors are startling, offering a quality of design unusual for a magazine.

The collages also stand out. Parts taken from different covers are skillfully assembled to create unique pieces. One artfully combines a number of forms containing typeface in a variety of fonts and colors; one of the larger forms, a ticket stub, serves as a background to a black-crested bird seated on a branch.

It’s impossible to overestimate the experience of being in a space filled with so many varied designs, forms and colors.

Emigre at Gallery 16

Gallery 16, 501 Third St., San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today-Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Admission: Free
Contact: (415) 626-7495,

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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