Although it has many meanings, a sheath is typically thought of as either a loose fitting dress, or a case for a blade. Either context offers an intimacy, a sexiness that its utterance evokes. Our current 18 Reasons art exhibition, Beneath the Sheaths, harnesses the term’s suggestive power to draw in viewers. Because let’s be honest–an offer to get “beneath the sheaths” sounds a lot more enticing than an offer to get “beneath the scabbards.”
We are a food community space after all so with these sheaths I’m referencing knives, friends—not dresses. Beneath the Sheaths, on view through the end of March, is a Dux Art collaborative project produced by Eddie Lau and photographed by Meigan Canfield and Ellis Au. In line with our Bi-Rite philosophy that there is almost nothing more intimate than cooking for and feeding others, Canfield and Au’s minimalist photographs astutely document this relationship and seem a natural complement to the walls of 18 Reasons.
Tool and knife sets from eight prominent Bay Area chefs are documented, each set showing a different side of the craft of cooking, each individual object within the set representing an extension of the individual. At first glance the images could pass as purely commercial, but with each additional glance a more complex and entwined narrative appears. Knives and other chef’s tools are sexy for these reasons. They are aesthetically beautiful in their utility, sensual in their form and craftsmanship, and attractive as artifacts, as keepers of our culture. Rich stories are grooved deep in their weathering.
The collections of Melissa Perello, Richie Nakano, Robbie Lewis, Gabriel Mitchell, Ryan Farr, Ravi Kapur, Bill Corbett, Laurence Jossel and Eddie Lau are on view. Come to see another side of your favorite chef. Come to see another side of your food. Most importantly, come to see another side of yourself. Come to imagine the meals you’ve made, the labor and unconditional love that live in the divots of the spatula that has moved with you not once, but thrice. Come to celebrate kitchen tools, sharing meals, craft and all it adds to our lives.
Come see the collection at 18th Hour any Thursday night from 6-10 pm at 18 Reasons, through the end of March!