Artist’s Shoes

This artistic tribute for Frances, “Walk in an Artist’s Shoes”

We may lost Frances, but she lives in our hearts forever and this post remains with her friends.

‘Artist’s Shoes’ exhibit honors Sausalito’s Frances Galli

By Vicki Larson
Marin Independent Journal (link to IJ article) 12/1/2011

Frances Galli in her studio at Sausalito’s ICB Art Center.  Galli, who passed away in September at age 92, is being honored by her fellow ICB artists with an exhibit,’Walk in an Artist s Shoes.’

The artists who worked with and were inspired by the late Frances Galli would say no one could fill her shoes.

But for one month, everyone’s invited to “walk” in them.

“Walk in an Artist’s Shoes,” an exhibit to honor the artist who had a studio at Sausalito’s ICB Art Center for nearly 25 years, features dozens of fanciful shoes-cum-artworks. The former Kentfield resident passed away in September at age 92.

“Her life was about art. She was an artist through and through,” says Suzie Buchholz, an abstract painter who shared a studio with Galli for about three years and was her studio neighbor for many more. “She was always pushing the envelope and doing something new
Frances Galli’ ‘Shoes #3,’ oil on canvas and painted in 2006, will be on display in ‘Walk in an Artist’s Shoes.’
and learning. She had a sense of style and a vibrancy.”

Adds fellow ICB artist Kristen Garneau, “Her work ethic was really sort of amazing. Right up until a week before she passed away, she would be in her studio every day at 10 o’clock on the dot.”

There are some 48 shoes in the exhibit and sale, all crafted by Marin artists, that can be seen at ICB’s annual Winter Open House on Dec. 3 and 4, and throughout December. Decorated with fiber art, collage, stained glass, paint, Swarovski crystals, hardware, feathers, photographs and rhinestones, no two pairs of shoes are alike.

“You never know what you’re going to get when you give instructions to artists,” Buchholz says, laughing.

All are for sale (prices range from $50 to $600), with some artists donating the proceeds to their favorite charity.

“All these shoes look like the people,” says Garneau, the exhibit’s curator. “I don’t think anything in our space has looked like this.”

Garneau got the idea for the exhibit when she visited Galli in the hospital shortly before she died.

“I was holding her hand and I was struck with how many things this hand had done,” the Mill Valley resident says. “I was so grateful that my life’s path had brought me to her and I thought of … her shoe paintings, and of all of our shoes that led us to this place.”

Shoes are an appropriate tribute. Galli loved fashion and created a series of paintings of shoes, many inspired by a collection of embroidered silk Chinese shoes she had in her studio, including 2006’s “Shoes #3,” which is included in the exhibit.

“Shoes were about Frances trying a different direction, moving away from the wide-angle landscapes and the naive primitive figures and going more to detail,” Buchholz says. “For her, it was about creating something that was pleasing, that brought a smile to your face,”

Buchholz has done the same for her shoe artwork. She’s been incorporating kites in her mixed-media installations for years, so it’s no surprise her contribution features five miniature kites hovering above a pair of bright red shoes.

“Kites represent opportunity, hope and, I guess, possibility, more than anything,” the San Rafael resident says. “There’s something really happy about a kite.”

Garneau’s artwork is a pair of painted cowboy boots. “I’m a landscape painter so for me to go to 3-D was really out of the box. But it was fun.”

So, what’s it like to walk around in an artist’s shoes? “Artists are attuned to different things as they move through life. My husband and I hike a lot, and usually he’s focused on speed and distance and I’m kind of looking at the way a shaft of light comes between two branches on a tree,” Buchholz says.

For Garneau, it’s more a matter of expression. Art “requires an audience. So whether it’s dance or music or writing, all require something at the other end to be able to see it. Each of us has our own individual voice and our own passion,” she says. “In Frances Galli’s case, her paintings were really of very simple things taken to a level of a certain kind of beauty because that’s how she walked in the world.”

Vicki Larson can be reached at vlarson@marinij.com; follow her on Twitter at @OMGchronicles, fan her at on Facebook at Vicki-Larson-OMG-Chronicles.

if you go

What: ICB Winter Open Studios
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4; reception 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: Industrial Center Building, 480 Gate Five Road, Sausalito
Admission: Free
Information: 331-2222; www.icbartists.com
More: “Walk in an Artist’s Shoes” will be on exhibit at the ICB Gallery 11 through Dec. 31