To What Depths

Amy Tavern

January 24th – February 23rd
Reception Saturday, January 26th 6-9 pm

The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present To What Depths, site specific installation, drawings, video and photographs by Amy Tavern.


Artist Statement
“The light we see from distant galaxies left them millions of years ago…Thus, when we look at the universe, we are seeing it as it was in the past.”

When I first read these lines in Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (1988) I was brought to tears. They were the most beautiful and saddest words I had ever read. In that moment, I had to turn away from the book. The subject matter had become too much for me to take. I was flooded with thoughts of mortality, remembering and forgetting, loss and longing. I understood that as we stand in the present and look up at the night sky we are literally looking at the past: the past made visible, the past becomes the present, the past is present.

To What Depths investigates ideas around time, parallel worlds, and psychological spaces by finding symbolic reference in the ocean and the Universe. I philosophically and poetically approach concepts of physics – such as the multiverse, dark matter, and the speed of light – observing similarities between them and in connection to what it means to be human. The shared experiences of love and loss, triumph and failure can make us feel as if we are living in another world, separated from the familiar and everyday, or experiencing unexplainable duality. Direct observation of the ocean and the stars informs my imagery, resulting in visuals that are interchangeable and represent both entities at the same time.

Through a variety of traditional and exploratory multi-media techniques, I deconstruct and reconstruct personal recollections, pairing them with poetic interpretations of space and time. I use a distinct vocabulary of crooked, curving, and perfectly straight lines, amorphous shapes, and nuanced blues to abstractly illustrate my thoughts on space, time, and emotion. Mixed-media drawings, layered photographs, a glitch-focused video, and a sculptural installation appear to be pools of salt water, islands in the sky, portals into space, or glimpses inside imaginary bodies. They suggest the ocean is a universe, reality exists in another world, and the past is visible in the present. Two books of single line poetry complement the group, adding another layer to the narrative while pulling the reader into the past present.

Amy Tavern is an interdisciplinary artist. She has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in the United States, Belgium, Sweden, and Iceland. She has taught and lectured across the country and in Europe, and her work as a metalsmith has been included in numerous publications, most notably, the cover of Metalsmith Magazine. A believer in phenomenology, her work begins with direct experience and, although autobiographical, refers to the human condition, universal themes, and the passing of time. Using labor-intensive methods, Amy translates recollection through drawing, photography, sculpture, animation, and video.

Originally from Richfield Springs, New York, Amy holds a BA in Arts Administration from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, a BFA in Metal Design from the University of Washington, Seattle, and an MFA in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Amy is a former Penland School of Crafts resident artist and has completed numerous artist residencies in Iceland.

Amy lives and works in San Francisco, California.

About the Gallery
The Great Highway is a fine art gallery located in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district. The gallery was founded by John Lindsey, a long time resident of the city with a deep appreciation for images and ideas that explore the intersection of land and water in contemporary work. The Great Highway Gallery’s mission is to seek, analyze, support, and promote the work of a diverse group of artists who seek sincere authenticity, challenge conventional thinking, amuse us, and push the boundaries of today’s creative media. To learn more about the gallery, visit

The Sound of Trees

Nathan Wirth

Stated simply: Nathan Wirth, in all his work, attempts to photograph silence.

Nathan has won awards  in a variety of photo competitions, such as the International Photography Awards, The Moscow International Foto Awards, the PX3, the Black and White Spider Awards, and the Epson Pano Awards.

Locally, Nathan has given several talks about his photography at philosophy conferences– and many of his images have received awards in the  Marin County Fair, where, in 2017, he was chosen as Marin County Photographer of the Year.  In 2016, Nathan was commissioned by Sonoma County’s Kenwood Winery to create a label for their prestigious Artist Series.

His work rests on the walls of many homes throughout the Bay Area, the United States, and internationally—as well as gracing the covers and pages of books of poetry and philosophy, jazz CDs, magazines (online and in print) and wine labels.

Nathan Wirth is a self taught photographer that enjoys sharing the knowledge that he has accumulated through many hours of trial and error. Nathan lives in Novato with his wife and daughter and teaches literature at San Francisco City College.

Mission Dirt Project

October 1st ~ November 3rd

Reception Saturday, October 6th 6~9pm
Artist talk Thursday, November 1st 6~8pm

The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present Mission Dirt Project, installation, ceramics and drawings by Ilana Crispi.

About the Project
I am digging the dirt under my apartment in the Mission, turning it into ceramics, searching for deposits of gold and using it to grow tea to share with my neighbors. I am looking at the soil itself as a way to examine our local history, geology, and story of place.

Mission Creek – now buried – has deposited soil with a high clay content under my home. I investigate landscape – how we imagine and perceive our environment, and the physical material of place. What happens on the surface is constantly changing. Many different peoples have created homes here – the Ohlone and then missionaries and immigrants and now tech workers. My apartment has been here since before the 1906 earthquake. The dirt under the apartment hasn’t changed. To reach it I travel into what looks like an old mine shaft below the sidewalk. This is where the fuse boxes are. I have navigated this space with pick ax and shovel and mined the soil.

This is a kind of guerrilla land grab and share – I am looking at the value of the dirt itself and sharing what I find. The real estate here is some of the most expensive anywhere. I have processed the soil to create fired ceramics and grow native plants. I am testing the land – firing it, mixing it and questioning its meaning and ownership.

The Mission Dirt Project is supported by an Individual Artist Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

About the Artist
Ilana Crispi is a San Francisco based artist with an interdisciplinary practice. She mixes traditional ceramic arts with local histories and geologies, food, dirt, and junk materials. Her site-specific installations invite engagement and investigate ideas of perception and the ways in which we experience our environments. She has been the resident artist at the Rochester Folk Art Guild, Montalvo Arts Center, the de Young Museum, and Jiwar and Can Serrat in Spain. Her work has been shown at museums, galleries, and alternative sites nationally and internationally in Spain, Mexico and China. She has an MFA from Mills College and BA from Brown University. Ilana is an Assistant Professor of Art at San Francisco State University.


The Great Highway is a fine art gallery and working studio featuring contemporary works in all mediums. The gallery has a deep appreciation for images and ideas that explore where lands meet water.

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Location and Hours

The Great Highway
3649 Lawton St.
San Francisco, CA 94122

phone: (415) 680-3891

Thursday & Friday 12pm - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
By appointment 7 days a week

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