Since 1994, the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto has pioneered a unique concept: an office for the creative, self-employed people who by definition don’t need to punch a clock. From its beginnings, it’s been a place where narrative artists–writers, filmmakers and the like–welcome the discipline of structure in their work lives, and build a community of peers.
Exhibit and Reception: Tracey Kessler and Al Grumet
In Tracey’s work, layered abstractions are born of emotion, and transformed by wind, rain and time. She employs a diversity of media and painterly marks to explore the circumstances of life. She works outdoors, and calls upon the elements to imbue her works with vitality and a sense of time. Her current body of work is inspired by fruit, and captures its essence through the interplay of sumi ink, oil stick, linseed oil, beeswax and watercolors.
Al’s work is a form of storytelling inspired by wandering. He searches for fragments of poetry among the detritus of the landscape and explores the frayed tapestry of modern life. He tells colorful stories through layers of manipulated media, sculptural space and mischievous word play. These stories carry multiple meanings, including commentaries on the human condition, his own circumstances and the processes and materials that he uses to explore ideas. In his current body of work, Al selects a series of photographs taken on a single day. He weaves them into narratives that are enhanced by related found objects, scrap-bin sculptures and painted elements.
Tracey and Al each develop their work through a process of layering. In honor of the Writer’s Grotto, they have collaborated on a new series of work that explores the relationship between writers and editors. As part of the collaboration, Tracey and Al each take a turn as the editor of the other’s work, providing critical feedback and encouragement at various stages of the creative process. The editorial exchange is documented and presented as part of two finished works, entitled “When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Ask For It” and “Here, Let Me Drive.”
Tracey Kessler was born in Huntington, NY and grew up in NY, CT and NJ and currently lives and works in Mill Valley, CA. She has exhibited at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Pool Art Fair in New York, Art Haus and Arc Gallery in San Francisco and the O’Hanlon Center in Mill Valley, CA. A licensed interior designer by trade with a background in commercial and residential architecture, she began painting full-time again in 2009.
Al Grumet grew up in Queens, NY and currently lives and works in Mill Valley, up the street from Tracey. From 1996 through 2010, Al lived in Manhattan and pursued careers in law and financial services. In 2010, Al moved with his family to Mill Valley and became a full-time artist.
LitCamp 2014: Start planning now!
Lit Camp, our writers conference co-sponsored with Litquake will be held Thursday, May 15 through Sunday, May 18, 2014 at Mayacamas Ranch in the rolling hills near Calistoga. Submissions will be accepted from October 1, 2013 through January 15, 2014.
We accept only 40 writers of fiction, narrative nonfiction and memoir to Lit Camp. Our student to faculty ratio is 3 to 1.
Last year, our distinguished workshop faculty included Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Adam Johnson. This year, our workshop staff will include novelist Susan Straight, memoirist Emily Rapp, literary agent Amy Williams, and editor Ben George.