Although I missed the opening of Kimetha Vanderveen’s show at Meridian, Terry Davis went and snapped this photo of the artist, who is rather shy and probably prefers that it does not show her face. On the other hand, I happened to sit with Kimetha at the poetry event a few days later that featured Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hirshman and introductory remarks by art critic Peter Selz. Kimetha and I met Selz after the presentations.
I was pleased for her that the esteemed critic Kenneth Baker of the Chronicle reviewed the show. Her work is so minimal that you couldn’t expect Baker to be any more effusive in his praise. What he did say:
Paintings (by Kimetha Vanderveen) on panel such as “Winter” (2011) or “Lifting” (2011) look breathed into being. Their gray on gray surfaces appear so nuanced as to court dismissal – even disposal – by anyone who values observation too little.
The defenseless quality of Vanderveen’s work shows differently in her drawings, where ink strokes accumulate with apparent confidence, yet refuse us the obvious satisfactions of imagery. Meridian has justly honored her with a handsome publication of drawings, “From the Devotion Folio.”
Vanderveen makes a theme of trust in our interest in seeing as an expression of our interest in living. The bravery of this posture will too easily go unnoticed.
Delving slightly deeper, as deep as the ocean by internet standards perhaps, Baker offered a more articulated critique and praise when Vanderveen had a show at Mina Dresden in the Mission in May of 2010.