Art

Avenue 12 Gallery Enlivens Lake Street Neighborhood With Contemporary Art

By Judith Kahn

Avenue 12 Gallery on Lake Street at 12th Avenue is a unique art space which continually displays paintings by artists in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. 

The gallery has a combination of natural and soft electrical lighting, high ceilings, and has large glass windows which allow people to view the exhibit from outside. 

The gallery is open by appointment only. Artists who display their work are dedicated, established, professional fine artists. All the works exhibited are originals and are content driven. such as Lynn Sondag’s watercolor landscapes, which are interpretations of street scenes on Lake Street and Sea Cliff.  

Avenue 12 GalleryAvenue 12 Gallery, on Lake Street at 12th Avenue, features works by artists depicting present-day scenes. Courtesy photo.

Before becoming a gallery, the space was the location of Lake Market. In 2005, owners Vincent Meyer and Rachel Murray Meyer transformed the space into a Japanese antique store. In 2016, they decided to turn the space into a contemporary art gallery. 

Vincent said he feels it is important to display art that conveys images of what is going on now. 

“The newer the better when it comes to the type of art displayed in the gallery,” he said.

The artists apply to submit their work through the gallery’s website. Vincent said he likes art that uses traditional media, like oil, as long as the subject is conveying the present.  

Vince Meyer and Rachel Murray MeyerIn 2005, owners Vincent Meyer and Rachel Murray Meyer transformed the space into a Japanese antique store. In 2016, they decided to turn the space into a contemporary art gallery. Courtesy photo.

Currently, the gallery is particularly important because it brings culture to the neighborhood at a time when most major museums are closed. Now that Lake Street is a “Slow Street” with no cars allowed, people are stopping to view the exhibits at the gallery instead of driving by in their cars.

Vincent is a native of the Outer Richmond. He received his architecture degree from University of California at Berkeley. He started a metal works shop on Clement Street and was also selling Japanese objects. His specialty was creating tansu, mobile storage cabinetry indigenous to Japan. Vincent was inspired by his father, a painter, who taught him about art as he grew up.

Rachel’s background is in math and photography. She has displayed her photography at various galleries and is currently exploring other avenues to show her new bodies of work. She took art lessons when she was a child. When she lived in Los Angeles, she would frequent the Getty Museum. Art has always been an important part of her life.

During the height of the pandemic, Avenue 12 created a window display of art submitted by artists who were creating work in reaction to the pandemic. Artist Yuriko Takata submitted watercolor pieces of windmills titled “Winds of Change.” 

“My work is definitely influenced by the feelings I’m experiencing at the moment,” Takata said. “This moment in time is both frightening and extraordinary. The windmills are whirling a bit too fast, at the mercy of a brutal and mysterious killer in the air we breathe. The lights are on inside; signs of fellow human beings sheltering in place. What needs to be changed to go forward and stay alive?” 

Another featured artist was Eden Gallanter, whose work was titled “Flower Iterations.” The piece shows different flowers represented with ink and watercolor on paper.  

“Making these ‘Flower Iterations’ has felt very healing during these dark days,” Gallanter said. “In repeatedly overlaying different perspectives of a single flower, I inevitably lose track of which layer is which, and discrete forms start to fall apart. I have only shattered pieces. At this point, I can start to shape the essential form of the flower from the fragments. I end up with a new, coherent flower, composed from a jumble of broken-down perspectives that blend and dissolve into one another.

“The process of analyzing a flower into pieces and then resurrecting it again in a way that shows its fundamental nature – its essential colors and architecture – gives me a feeling of hope. It’s a reminder of what lasts, and what doesn’t,” Gallanter said.

Vincent and Rachel look forward to continually supporting artists in the community and giving them a place to exhibit their work, while attracting people in the neighborhood. 

The gallery is located at 1101 Lake St. For more information, visit www.avenue12gallery.com or call (415) 750-9955. 

Vince Meyer Avenue 12 Gallery 2

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