Context: Bay Area Now 8 is the eighth manifestation of Yerba Buena Center fo the Arts’ triennial survey of Northern California art.
At a time when the challenges facing artists in the Bay Area continue to mount — from rising rents and displacement to too few venues that can elevate and support emerging artists — Bay Area Now 8 focuses on what is being created in studios across the region is not just desirable, but vital.
Selected through a process of studio visits conducted from fall 2017 through spring 2018, the exhibition showcases visual artists in a broad range of creative practices, including painting, photography, ceramics, textiles, video installation, and digital media. For the first time in its history, Bay Area Now also includes architects and designers working at the leading edge of environmental, landscape, and housing design.
Manual were responsible for the creation of a city-wide marketing campaign and the design of exhibition materials. We chose to eschew a purely graphic design approach in favor of photography as a central part of the campaign.
With no finished art to feature in the marketing of the exhibition—and as a continuation of the curatorial approach of studio visits—we commissioned and art directed the photographer Mark Mahaney, and visited local artists and designers in their studios to document their process of artistic creation, and the environments and tools in which their ideas come to life.
The resulting images present glimpses of artists and designers working in a broad range of media, asking questions and exploring meaning around race, gender, the environment. Loose graphic layouts featuring scattered images attempt to intrigue the viewer and allow them to get closer to the artists revealing materiality, making, and the individual.
Bold use of yellow and hand-scrawled typographic accents help to create a sense of energy and urgency.