Classic Beauties

A pioneer of Abstract Expressionism who is credited as one of the first “action painters,” John Grillo has a secure position in the pantheon of great American artists. Even more remarkable is the fact that Grillo, now 92, continues to add to his considerable oeuvre, which spans more than seven decades.

As a tribute to the artist’s enduring and influential career, Robert Green Fine Arts in Mill Valley presents a fall exhibition of his work titled Seven Decades, highlighting the evolution of his paintings from the 1940s to the present. Comprising watercolors and oil paintings, the exhibition includes three works from each decade, showcasing Grillo’s tireless creativity and stylistic versatility.

“Abstract painting is on a level with music. It’s a physical outburst from your whole being,” Grillo has said. His art fittingly reflects the intimate nature of this creative expression, ranging from gestural strokes to controlled applications of color to golden monochromes, emphasizing his artistic development over the years.

The exhibition will run from early September through the end of October, with a public opening reception; contact the gallery for dates and details.

Robert Green Fine Arts, 154 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.381.8776,; 1–7 Tue–Fri, 11–5 Sat–Sun, and by appointment, closed Mon

From September 3 through 26 San Francisco’s Hespe Gallery hosts a solo show for local rising star Kim Cogan. The Korean-born, San Francisco–based artist paints hauntingly beautiful cityscapes and interiors that have been winning him a growing following in recent years.

Most of Cogan’s compositions capture scenes familiar to San Franciscans, though he steers clear of the obvious landmarks in favor of anonymous buildings, neighborhood streets and storefronts.

“San Francisco is such a unique city with so many different moods. It has always been a big part of my life, and I wanted to try to capture the city by characteristics which are distinctively San Francisco, yet omitting everything that is iconic,” he has explained. He paints with stunning attention to detail but diverges from photorealism through the infusion of decidedly painterly touches—paint drips and smears for an effect reminiscent of a blurred view through a rain-drenched windshield.

The exhibition at Hespe includes roughly a dozen new paintings, encompassing Cogan’s characteristic cityscapes as well as recent figurative works. The gallery hosts an artist reception, open to the public, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on September 3.

Hespe Gallery, 251 Post St., Ste. 420, San Francisco, 415.776.5918,; 11–5:30 Tue–Fri, 11–5 Sat, closed Sun–Mon

Beginning September 3, Robert Allen Fine Art in Sausalito invites viewers to see new works from Oakland-based artist Kerry Vander Meer. While Vander Meer is best known for her inventive intaglio prints and sculptures, her most recent pieces bridge these two passions, offering layered panels and works on paper that suggest sculptural affinities.

Titled Clusters: New Mixed Media Works on Paper and Panel, the exhibition showcases Vander Meer’s exploration of scale and texture, with larger, sometimes nongeometric compositions that incorporate elements such as fabric. The imagery remains consistent with the artist’s earlier series—colorful, abstract designs that pay homage to the natural world—but the new combinations of materials allow her to embrace pattern in an even more dynamic way than her labor-intensive prints have done. They also afford opportunities to juxtapose the characteristics of the media, with precisely cut, collaged pieces placed alongside fluid drips and splotches.

Robert Allen Fine Art hosts a reception for the artist from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on September 3, open to the public. The exhibition remains on view through October 23.

Robert Allen Fine Art, 301 Caledonia St., Sausalito, 415.331.2800,; 10–5 Mon–Fri, closed Sat–Sun