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Together We Make Things Happen




Friday, 10 November 2017 to Thursday, 21 December 2017
Friday, 10 November 2017 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Gallery 16 is pleased to present Together We Make Things Happen, an immersive solo exhibition by Oakland-based artist Nathaniel Parsons. The title of the show is a reflection of the artist’s interest in how we come together to coexist. The artist presents over 100 pieces spanning nearly 25 years of his career, offering viewers an exploration of his unique approach to artmaking. Parsons will transform the gallery with an ambitious installation, a complex web of past and present works that blend into one another. The work can be seen as a type of totem pole that combines diverse stories into one overlapping narrative. In native traditions, totem poles weren’t objects of worship, but devices for community storytelling. Similarly, Parsons’s art, made with found materials, deflects reverence and instead honors coexisting histories.

Nathaniel Parsons’s work has roots in folk art, narrative painting, wood carving and a community-building social practice. He is known for drawing heavily from rural Americana, outsider artwork and naturalist writing. Found and scavenged materials are regularly employed, as the artist favors those that have a well-worn history. Parsons values the embedded history within each element, seeing this choice as a process of building upon history, rather than creating autonomous objects without a past. Previous projects have involved visitors taking walks with the artist while he works or creating public picnic tables that are carved as a community project. Generosity, friendship and shared vision guide his projects and viewers are able to see themselves in the creation of Parson’s distinct works.

“When does a story get to be a tall tale, how is a moral born, and if the artist has a desire to consider all that, when and where does it become relevant?”   -- Nathaniel Parsons

Together We Make Things Happen will also have a counterpart group exhibition in Gallery 16’s project space curated by Parsons. True to his desire to share, he’s curated a show within a show. Artists included are Hamlett Dobbins and Tad Lauritzen of Mellow Mountain Coalition, Brooke Inman, Jeff Morris, Lexa Walsh, Billy Ward and David Dunlap.



Curator :

Artist ( Description ): 

About the artist: Nathaniel Parsons was raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, among a family of artists. He graduated with a BFA from California College of the Arts (Oakland) in 1993 and with an MFA from the University of Iowa with a concentration in painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, and performance. His art practice explores themes of alter egos, visiting parks, shared authorship, and storytelling. As an observational artist, he chooses to work on projects, new, worn and carved from what appears needed to get the job done. Paintings are made on surfaces where some element comes from a found source, stretcher bars, milled wood, cut offs . There is a continual effort to reach Point Sublime. He’s sung songs in a band called Little My, playing shows and making souvenirs for the audience. He has shown projects nationally in Memphis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Oakland and Cleveland and internationally in The Republic of Macedonia. He lives and works in Oakland California.


Other Info: 

About Gallery 16: Gallery 16 was founded in 1993 by artist Griff Williams with the primary focus of representing and advocating for the work of living contemporary artists. In addition to the regular exhibition schedule, the gallery sponsors artists talks, and hosts performances and music throughout the year. It’s their belief that the brick and mortar gallery model, to be culturally relevant, needs to embody new strategies for facilitating and presenting artist’s projects. The space, as Williams describes it, “allows for the artist to fail. We don’t create exhibitions around curatorial agendas, but extend an invitation to artists we trust and hope they use the opportunity to challenge themselves without restrictions.”

The Gallery 16 exhibition program functions alongside their print studio which operates under the imprint Gallery 16 Editions. They were among the first print studios in the United States to combine traditional and digital print methods to create original artist editions. They continue to publish print editions, artist books, and multiples.

The gallery space is located on the ground floor of a historic building at the corner of Bryant and Third Street in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Gallery 16 is active internationally as well as locally, working with individual collectors and museums alike in support of artists including Michelle Grabner, Reed Anderson, Tucker Nichols, Jason Middlebrook, Libby Black, Amy Franceschini, and others. They have collaborated with many of the top art institutions around the world on acquisitions and exhibitions, including Whitney Museum Of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Art Museum, MASS MoCA, Orange County Museum of Art, SFMOMA. Gallery 16 participates in a select number of art fairs each year and has facilitated public projects for gallery artists in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, New York, among other locations.

Venue ( Address ): 

Exhibition Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm | Saturday 11am–5pm

Other events from -

Solo Exhibitions by Thomas R. Schiff: Poetics of Distortion
02/15/2019 to 03/31/2019
Solo exhibition by Alice Shaw - "Cloned" at Gallery 16
04/06/2018 to 05/26/2018
Gallery 16's Annual (Post) Holiday
Solo exhibition by Sonny Smith - "Tour"
02/02/2018 to 03/31/2018



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