Instinctual Drift Press Release


Heron Arts and Sloan Fine Art Present
Instinctual Drift
Curated by Alix Sloan and Aaron Smith
With works by Jason Houchen, Valerie Pobjoy, Aaron Smith and Brad Woodfin
And a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Movember Foundation
At Heron Arts, 7 Heron Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103
One night only: Saturday, November 5th, 2016, 6 to 9pm
Free and open to the public


Heron Arts and Sloan Fine Art are pleased to present Instinctual Drift featuring works by Jason Houchen, Valerie Pobjoy, Aaron Smith and Brad Woodfin, and with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Movember Foundation, to help raise money and awareness for men’s health issues.

Studies have proven that no matter how much one tries to control an animal, certain behaviors are instinctive and cannot be “trained out.” Animals, and we human animals, will continue to drift towards our true nature. The beauty of this concept as a positive symbol of embracing one’s individuality and resisting the influence and judgment of others serves as the inspiration for Instinctual Drift, a very special one night event and exhibition highlighting the work of four artists who embrace this attitude in their art.

Influenced by his Midwestern roots and time spent in Los Angeles, Jason Houchen has developed a unique style that blends elements of pop, folk and street art. His mixed media wood burnings, paintings and sculptures celebrate life and death, spirits and spirituality, memories and intentions. They are at once masculine, delicate, whimsical and bold.

With great attention and using traditional techniques, Valerie Pobjoy portrays subjects and settings one might normally disregard. She captures these subjects – from a brewing storm to a discarded chair to a nightclub bouncer – with such care and love, she inspires us to look at our own lives differently and take notice of those hidden moments of beauty that deserve recognition.

In his “beardo” paintings, co-curator/artist Aaron Smith reinterprets vintage photographs of men from the Victorian/Edwardian eras with woozy colors and aggressive surfaces. His luscious, impasto portraits foil each sitter’s stoic pose and impart a giddy ambivalence to nostalgia. With this work, Smith revels in the exaggeration of masculinity’s archetypes, mining past forms of male identity in an attempt to free them of any heteronormative constraints.

Brad Woodfin chooses each of his animal subjects for a specific reason, much the same way a portrait painter selects human subjects. He sees in each them a certain spark – a look in the eye, the turn of a feather, a tragic history – that demands to be acknowledged and recorded. Delicately rendered and lovingly preserved, each of Woodfin’s creatures emerges proudly as an individual against the glossy black surface of the unknown.

The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round, focusing on fundraising and awareness around some of the biggest health issues faced by men – prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

Heron Arts was formed around a broad mission to support the arts and culture in San Francisco, aiming to connect audience with impactful experience by exhibiting leading contemporary work in the gallery context, driving community engagement with the arts via local programming and showcasing globally relevant cultural productions in San Francisco. Since opening its doors in 2013, it has become a vital part of the local art scene, presenting a wide range or events, exhibitions and programs.

Since transitioning Sloan Fine Art from a brick and mortar gallery in New York City to a nomadic gallery and consulting firm in 2012, founder/director Alix Sloan has been traveled the country mounting pop up shows and curating special exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans and Miami, all while offering a wide range of services to help artists, collectors and businesses navigate the rapidly changing art world. She and co-curator Aaron Smith are grateful to Heron Arts for their collaboration on this special event.

Instinctual Drift, co-curated by Alix Sloan and Aaron Smith, with works by Jason Houchen, Valerie Pobjoy, Aaron Smith and Brad Woodfin is a one night only event and exhibition with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Movember Foundation. The event, which takes place on Saturday, November 5th, from 6 to 9pm at Heron Arts, 7 Heron Street 
in San Francisco, is free and open to the public.

Images above, left to right: Jason Houchen, “One Step Ahead,” mixed media, 36 x 24 in. Aaron Smith, “Rumpbump,” oil on panel, 30 x 24 in. Valerie Pobjoy, “Fellowship,” oil on panel, 14 x 11 in. Brad Woodfin, “Slow Autumn,” oil on panel, 9 x 7 in.