With a history and founding core values in many ways emblematic of the contemporary Oakland art scene as a whole, Aggregate Space Gallery was formed within an empty West Oakland warehouse space and re-purposed by a group of like-minded, entrepreneurial artists who, over two years, built a successful, strong creative community including some of the most innovative local artists and a showcase of intriguing experimental exhibitions. In the current group show “Not Each, But All,” Aggregate Space Gallery reflects through artwork by its founding seven artists upon its creative beginnings, and the way in which both the gallery’s spatial and architectural properties have instilled Aggregate Space with meaning and encouraged the manner in which it grew to become a dynamic center for local arts.
Each of the seven artists in “Not Each But All”: Ryan Hendon, Pete Hickok, Ryan Jones, Conrad M. Meyers II, Aaron Rosenstreich, Ian Treasure, and S.D. Willis came together out of a mutual necessity for a space to create and present their work in an appropriate manner. Ryan Hendon’s artworks in “Not Each, But All” takes his photography practice into a new, experimental avenue. Using rosin paper, a sheathing material commonly used in roofing systems and which is also a highly photo-sensitive paper, Hendon creates a subtle, but evocative negative image of the architectural space of the building that, says Hendon is “connecting the construction of Aggregate Space with the material” and perhaps also recalls how the space is concurrently physically immobile and theoretically flexible, constantly engaged with and interdependent to the artworks placed within. Its placement at the front of the gallery seen first as audiences enter sets an important and effective preamble before entering the gallery space. It echos the sentiment in the exhibition’s catalogue, “The walls that exist in the once empty warehouse at 801 West Grand weren’t built to make Aggregate Space– they are Aggregate Space. They represent this magical accident that sustains itself almost solely on our desires to see art happen in the best way possible.”
Co-founder with Conrad M. Meyers, S.D. Willis’ impressive installation integrates Aggregate Space’s past and present physical architecture. Willis was one of the first to step into the space and see its potential, more so than the one or two giant studios the two had in mind. Her laborious symmetrical, site-specific installation Two Halves Don’t Necessarily Make a Whole made from cables once bolted into the concrete removed during the extensive renovation process, are beautifully lit by the construction bucket lights above, creating shadows and depth, and augments the brilliant use of wire’s coloring. The piece reflects the way in which Willis traced the genesis of Aggregate Space, and the extraordinary yet undefinable and immaterial thing created when the gallery space organically came together: “Several artists traced the beginning of Aggregate Space gallery to the defining moment when they erected the main gallery wall; its singular architecture symbolized the transformation from mammoth storage space to fine arts gallery.” The works in Aggregate Space’s “Not Each, But All” define a significant, ongoing exploration of the physical space’s pervading influence into gallery’s intrinsic nature and being.
“Not Each, But All” will be at Aggregate Space, 801 West Grand Ave., through December 21, 2013.