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Local Lens by the Artists of Creativity Explored

Local Lens by the Artists of Creativity Explored

Show Dates: Friday, July 31 through Monday, September 14

 View and purchase the pieces here.

Rare Device is pleased to announce our latest gallery exhibition, Local Lens, which is a collection of work by artists from Creativity Explored. This exhibition focuses on the artist’s view of their hometown of San Francisco.

This gallery show can be viewed and purchased online at Some of the pieces will be on display at the Rare Device gallery at 600 Divisadero Street, although the store and gallery are only open and visible curbside at this time.

About the artists:

James Miles Soft-spoken and reticent, James Miles (b. 1957, San Francisco) is known for his miniature ink drawings of quiet scenes that tell stories. Miles' scenes blur the distinctions between inside/outside, near/far, small/large, male/female, and past/present, enticing audiences into the paradoxically immense spaces of his diminutive artwork. His scenes celebrate ambiguity, particularly in the everyday.

Kate Thompson (b. 1989) conveys elaborate narratives and creates intriguing scenes of daily life through her distinctive line drawings with simple color palettes. “I like to tell stories . . . I like to draw things where people are doing things, people on bikes, on buses,” she explains. Her work sometimes emphasizes individualized characteristics like distinctive hairdos and ornate fashions, while other times, figures are more indistinguishable, conveying a collective populace.

According to Kevin Chu (b. 1988), dragons are always smiling, as are vultures, while penguins are happy to offer a tired swimmer a lift across the sea. A glance at his artwork confirms this enthusiastic and vibrant worldview. The narrative that can be read throughout his work is reflected in his calm, sensitive demeanor. Chu’s bold line and lively palette animate the pieces and link the joy felt in their content to his process. Like a wish for friendship and understanding, Chu’s artistic vision is earnest and motivated by the need for connection between all life-forms, regardless of species.

Delia Liu joined the Creativity Explored studio in 2015. Animal portraits are the focus of her art practice. In a series of small watercolors, Liu paints a variety of creatures, from cows, crocodile eggs, and baby elephants to dolphins, and even a newborn dhalak. In addition to watercolor, Liu works with woodless colored pencils on either black or white paper, drawing striking renderings of animals like horses, dogs, and cats.

Lance Rivers’ (b. 1967) art practice emphasizes the idea, above all others, of the local as monumental. No aspect of the processes that make a city function escapes him, and the attention he gives to the beauty of simple, industrial compositions shows an authentic love for the Bay Area. "My work is about landscape, architecture, bridges, tunnels, and transportation. I am inspired by BART, MUNI buses, streetcars, and trains. I like nature, too. These things are interesting to me," Rivers explains. Rivers joined the CE studio in 2002.

When Gerald Wiggins (b. 1968) makes art, he is "not necessarily trying to say something to people. I'm just trying to make them happy, because there is not enough happiness." Wiggins’ depictions of human figures, animal life, and fantastical creatures are stunningly accomplished. Working with colored pencil, marker, graphite, and watercolor, as well as with digital printmaking software, Wiggins' drawings are uncluttered and precise and use a spare, controlled line and careful coloring to convey detail. Wiggins also creates ceramic sculptures, from frightening vampiric characters to a rotating cast of life-like city dwellers he calls "the crew." Occasionally, key portions of a figure or natural element are left unfinished, or isolated parts are collected together in a single piece; these techniques add visual playfulness to his style. “I like the feeling of making something in your head that doesn’t exist," Wiggins says, "to make it real.” 

Lien Nguyen (b. 1960) works with pastel and watercolor to create elegantly composed catalogs of food, flowers, and animals. Nguyen joined the Creativity Explored studio in 2011. Nguyen draws, paints, and sculpts with tremendous focus. Her work shows an understated palette, and a light touch that evokes the ethereal qualities of her medium and method.

About Creativity Explored

For the past 35 years, Creativity Explored has given artists with developmental disabilities the means to create and share their work with the community, celebrating the power of art to change lives. Half of their proceeds from any original art sale goes directly to the artist.

Located in the vibrant cultural corridor that transverses San Francisco’s Mission District (3245 16th St), Creativity Explored provides a supportive studio environment, including individualized instruction from mentoring artists, quality supplies, and professional opportunities to exhibit and sell their art in the main gallery space. The organization establishes these artists’ work as an emerging and increasingly important contribution to the contemporary art world.

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