Oakland Art Gallery First Friday Art Murmur Openings: December 1, 2006


OAKLAND ART GALLERIES OPENINGS
FIRST FRIDAY OAKLAND ART MURMER
SWARM EGO PARK MAMA BUZZ
ROCK PAPER SCISSORS ABCo ARTSPACE
REPORTED BY ANURADHA VIKRAM
12.01.06

Swarm Gallery: New Works.

Artists: Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Michael Cutlip, Gage Opdenbrouw, Linda Braz.

Comment: Swarm Gallery presents three different takes on nature in their "New Works" exhibition. Painter Gage Opdenbrouw takes the representative approach. His landscapes, skyscapes and figures are luxuriously rendered in oil paint, suggesting psychological as well as physical states of being. Sculptor Mark Baugh-Sasaki goes for the literal, using materials seemingly salvaged from nature and industry (wood, steel, concrete) in his hefty assemblages. Painter Michael Cutlip finds nature in his process, allowing his medium to guide him in an organic exploration of form and abstraction. In the Project Space, Linda Braz has woven a silky web which she will proceed to burn and slowly destroy over the course of the exhibition. A graceful reflection on temporality, this small show complements the larger one's meditative mood.

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Paintings by Gage Opdenbrouw, oil on canvas.

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Art (Gage Opdenbrouw).

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Art (Gage Opdenbrouw).

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Paintings by Michael Cutlip, mixed media on panel.

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Art (Michael Cutlip).

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Sculpture - Mark Baugh-Sasaki, "Tensions" (wood, steel, cable).

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Artist Mark Baugh-Sasaki with "A Force Balance Approach to Determining Dislocation Configurations" (wood, steel, concrete).

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Linda Braz, "Study 4" and "Study 5" (20/2 Bombyx silk, mixed).

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Linda Braz, "An Extraordinary Pastiche of Fragility" (20/2 Bombyx silk, Cotter pins).

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Installation (Linda Braz).

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Ego Park: Beast Epic.

Artists: Thin Ice Collective aka Serena Cole, Uri Korn, Billy Kroft, Hilary Pecis, Catherine Ryan, Zefrey Throwell, Tracy Timmins.

Comment: Thin Ice Collective is a group of seven Oakland-based artists exhibiting together in Oakland for the first time with "Beast Epic," a show of their funny fantasies about the animal kingdom. This is their second exhibition as a collective since forming earlier this year. There's a strong sense of unease in much of this work, which is fitting considering humanity's troubled relationship to our environment and our animal neighbors. Caricatures and cartoons are here alongside detailed drawings, photographs and sculpture, tied together by a mock forest that covers the gallery walls. The work is colorful and arresting, with a strong comedic thread. Often grotesque and always beastly, the show reflects a deep appreciation for animal life and a healthy disgust with the manufacturing, rendering and otherwise destructive impulses of humankind.

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Sculpture - Billy Kroft, "Born to Give: Wool, Edible Flesh or Skin (Sheep) Ewe I-V" (wood, fiber, paint).

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Painting Billy Kroft, "A lot Less," "Society," "Everyday" (acrylic on wood).

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Art (Tracy Timmins).

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Painting Tracy Timmins, "Beast Epic II" and "Beast Epic III" (pencil and gouache on paper).

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Painting Tracy Timmins, "Beast Epic IV" and "Beast Epic V" (pencil and gouache on paper).

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Installation Zefrey Throwell, "Almost...almost there...almost..." (collage).

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Detail (Zefrey Throwell).

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Photography (Uri Korn).

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Photography Uri Korn, "Two Rats, New York" (Epson inkjet print).

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Painting Catherine Ryan, "The Order of Things" (charcoal, chalk, acrylic media on paper).

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Painting Serena Cole, "This Wicked World" (mixed media).

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Rock Paper Scissors: Comin' Up on Growin' Up - Locally Grown Expression.

Artists: RPS Youth Interns Troy Carter, Kendraya Spooner, Rochelle Bailey, Ola Animashaun; with Lighthouse Community Charter School and Making Waves Education Program.

Comment: Rock Paper Scissors Collective turns their space over to the teens, their high-school interns from Oakland's MetWest High School and other invited guests. A large airbrushed mural by Troy Carter covers one wall of the gallery, describing the struggles young Oakland teens face in trying to make enough money to survive by means legit or illegit. Up in the loft, one can be forgiven for thinking that Ola Animashaun's diary has exploded all over the walls. The centerpiece of his installation is a bicycle equipped with an LCD monitor and a large speaker so that teens can broadcast their voices and visions far and wide.

Visitors are invited to propose classes they would like to teach or attend at RPS on a large wall calendar made by Rochelle Bailey. Kendraya Spooner sets up a sewing shop in the front window, reflecting on sweatshop conditions and empowering her peers to make their own clothes. The large mural collages are made by student groups from Lighthouse Charter Community School in downtown Oakland and Making Waves Education Program in downtown Richmond. RPS hopes to garner enough financial support from the community to enable regular classes for Oakland's young people to be available free-of-charge. They should be commended for their tireless efforts to provide access to the arts for low-income kids, teaching them economic survival skills and expanding their intellectual horizons.

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Rock Paper Scissors Collective.

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Art (Ola Animashaun, Lighthouse Community Charter School).

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Art (Ola Animashaun, Lighthouse Community Charter School, Rochelle Bailey).

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Airbrush art (Troy Carter).

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Bicycle art (Ola Animashaun).

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Collage art (Making Waves Education Program).

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T-shirt art (Lighthouse Community Charter School).

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Mama Buzz Cafe Gallery: Modern Relics.

Artists: Clint Imbaden, Rob Jenkins, Amanda Maples, N. Darquea, Eliot Daughtry, Lori Marie Jenkins, Zoann Abel, Donna Love, Therese Babineau, Paul Panamarenko, Francis Wocicki, Peter Voshefski, curated by Amanda Maples, Tiffany Black.

Comment: Curators Amanda Maples and Tiffany Black present the artist as contemporary archaeologist, digging in his or her backyard and discovering mundane treasures that tell a wealth of stories. This is one of the strongest curated shows I've seen in Oakland, each work one of intriguing complexity and the overall premise realized thoughtfully and with clarity. Time is fleeting, and our now will soon be someone else's past, just as it was our ancestors' future. "Modern Relics" asks us to consider what the role of the artist is in the never-ending flow of time, and posits one possible answer. Each work shown is an intricate collection of objects and ideas.

Among the highlights is "Inside" by Clint Imbaden, in which 24 chest x-rays hang from wooden hangers. Behind each one is a light box with a 2"x2" transparency, showing a scene of familial bliss that's clearly long in the past. A really elegant meditation on mortality and loss, done simply.

Rob Jenkins' "Silence is Golden" and "Security" combine wood, glass and animal bones into creepy funerary icons that I liked a lot. His "How the West was Won" is an American flag made from shell casings and salvaged wood, and adorned with tiny Cowboys and Indians toys from a bygone era. A real crowd-pleaser.

Zoann Abel mines the outhouses of Virginia City and Comstock, Nevada, for broken bottle glass and finds a wealth of strange objects including doll parts, beads and rusted metal nails and fittings. She has arranged these on a metal armature that suggests a bed headboard to me, although her artist text identifies it as an outhouse shape. Either way you see it, intimacy meets history and the result is bricolage of a tortured sort.

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Clint Imbaden, "Inside" (mixed media installation).

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Installation (Clint Imbaden).

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X-ray art (Clint Imbaden).

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Detail (Clint Imbaden).

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Frances Wocicki, "Horses" and "Clarinet" (mixed media).

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Book Art.

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Found Object Art.

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N. Darquea, "Coney Island Privateers," Eliot Daughtry, "5 torn halves of dollars," Amanda Maples, "Untitled."

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Sculpture Rob Jenkins, "Security" (glass, wood, animal bones).

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Sculpture Rob Jenkins, "Silence is Golden" (glass, wood, metal, elk jawbones).

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Cowboys & Indians Art Rob Jenkins, "How the West was Won" (shell casings, found wood, toys).

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Outhouse Art Zoann Abel, "Outhouse out of Virginia City" (100 year old glass, mixed media).

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ABCo Artspace: The Art of Survival.

Artists: Jim Campbell, Victor Cartagena, Sarah Filley, Barry Monigle, Kristine Mays, Alexander Sarkis Abajian, Kate Eric (Kate Tedman and Eric Siemens); curated by Kim Johansson.

Comment: ABCo Artspace brings Bay Area headliners to Oakland with this show. Curator Kim Johansson invites seven artists to reflect on our contemporary state of insecurity, addressing disaster preparedness, economic and social anxieties, mythology and violence. ABCo's space has never looked so good.

Jim Campbell and Victor Cartagena lend their substantial clout to the exhibition, while out-of-towners Kate Eric (Kate Tedman and Eric Siemens) bring their international collaborations in painting to the East Bay for the first time. Lesser-known standout Alexander Sarkis Abajian makes a stunning first impression. Sarah Filley's "Emergency Kit" is something we should all have, and her "National Emergency Blanket" wittily juxtaposes patriotism and terror (note the mushroom cloud embroidery). Kristine Mays' wire sculptures of coats and dresses have an eerie, ghostly presence in the space, seeming to appear and disappear at will.

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Survival Art Jim Campbell, Victor Cartagena, Kristine Mays and Alexander Sarkis Abajian.

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Art Sarah Filley, Jim Campbell, Victor Cartagena, Kristine Mays and Alexander Sarkis Abajian.

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Video Art Victor Cartagena, "El Sueno de la Razon Produce Monstruos, based on Francisco Goya" (video sculpture).

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Propeller Art Victor Cartagena, "Untitled (Man with Wings I, brown)" (mixed media).

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Victor Cartagena, "Untitled (Homeless Hungry Vet)" (mixed media).

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LED Art Jim Campbell, "Motion & Rest #5" and "Motion & Rest #2" (custom electronics, 769 LEDs).

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Kate Eric, "Swarm and the Human Strain" and "Free to Feed in Eden III" (oil and acrylic on canvas).

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Wire Armature Sculpture (Kristine Mays).

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Sarah Filley, "National Emergency Blanket" and "Emergency Kit" (mixed media).

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Emergency Preparedness Art (Sarah Filley).

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Glass Gun Sculpture (Alexander Sarkis Abajian).

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Alexander Sarkis Abajian, "Mac-10 w/Roses" (hot sculpted glass).

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Alexander Sarkis Abajian, "Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher" (blown and hot sculpted glass).

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Articles © Alan Bamberger 2006. All rights reserved.