May 2013 Oakland Art Murmur

by admin on May 12, 2013

Springtime’s late hours of sun, and comfortably cool weather provided a pleasurable experience to walk through the Art Murmur galleries and gaze at First Friday artists, makers, and vendors along Telegraph on Friday, May 3. Not all galleries from 23rd to 26th street between Telegraph and Broadway had new exhibitions, but all had a variety of media, themes, and interests on view, suitable for any and every art enthusiast. Below are our photos of just some of the many highlights of May’s edition of the monthly event celebrating Oakland’s diverse and vibrant art community.

Warehouse 416’s group show, “ZING!” contains new artworks by many local artists for their semi-annual Spring small art show, all priced under $200. “ZING!” will also be the last show curated by Scrivani Productions this year. Just down the street, Studio Quercus’ group show “Northwest Passages” highlights a Pacific Northwest artistic community: Andrei Hedstrom, Emily Silver, Julie McNiel, Palmarin Merges, Kit Davenport, and Joan Rosko. Their migration north has had a profound influence on the kind of imagery these artists  have made and forms explored. In recent years, the group has acknowledged they have concentrated on critical dialogue, collaborative art-making, and community-building. With fewer opportunities and less anonymity, artists of small, outlying communities like this group must work together and pool resources to continue to make quality work, while garnering interest and engaging new and different audiences not typically accustomed to viewing art exhibitions.

Now on view at Slate Contemporary, “City and Place,” a suite of Maya Kabat’s new series of abstract paintings, explores relationships between “architectural elements, California light, and the balance of color, line, plane, and space.” Mixing colors directly on the canvas using drywall and plaster tools, Kabat works while the paint can still be moved around, arriving a conclusion that represents both empty space and solid forms, that balances spontaneity and structure. In “City and Place,” Kabat says she has brought more gesture and motion into her compositions, representing the experience of living in urban 21st century California: “its fast pace and exciting creative energy and forward momentum.” At FM Oakland, Oakland artist Stan Peterson presents wooden vignettes inspired by his recent Balinese experience in “The Narrative of Travel.” These roughly carved quaint pictures from random scenes of exploration portray wonderful experiences within simple renditions.

Oakland artist Jo Ann Biagini presents new works on paper inspired by the natural world and books about nature in her solo show “Nature in Translation” at Mercury Twenty Gallery. Re-configuring book pages and playing with its imagery, shape, color, and scale Biagini conjures up new interpretations of the natural world. In “Charismatic Fauna,” also on view at Mercury Twenty artist Mary Curtis Ratcliff reveals the pattern of her lifelong artistic connection to animals, and continued inspiration by natural phenomena. For this particular show, Ratcliff includes new pieces with selections of earlier work, such as her bronze Trout from 1983 and multimedia, Totem from 2001. Playing with abstraction and reality, Ratcliff’s images possess a sense of mystery and leaves the viewer intrigued and engaged with the image.

Rock Paper Scissors Collective is currently exhibting “Fresh Meet,” their annual Youth Art show, featuring new works in textiles, illustration, painting, digital media, and murals by their Youth Studio Program. Lead by Youth Director Kristi Holohan, this group of emerging talent give a glimpse of up-and-coming local contemporary arts and personal perspectives of the Bay Area through their vibrant imaginations. Rock Paper Scissors Collective’s Youth Program partners with local high schools to offer 14 to 19 year old students internships working on self-initiated projects throughout the school year.  Projects have included an entrepreneurial airbrushing business, design, gallery curatorship, and teaching teen fashion classes. This year, projects included More Beautiful than Barbie, Street Styles, and Uncensored Art by Oscar Davalos, Chris Martinez, Hector Jimenez, and Viejo.