July 2013 Art Murmur and First Friday

by admin on July 16, 2013

July’s Oakland Art Murmur and First Friday took place during the Independence Day weekend, and perhaps that may have been the reason there seemed to be fewer new exhibitions on view and the scene was a little more calm, but it nevertheless remained a great evening to see the many Art Murmur galleries in Oakland, and walk along Telegraph Avenue to engage in the First Friday live art activities and see the artists, makers, and vendors. With recent news that First Friday is in jeopardy of ending, many people came out to show their support of the community event. Below, we’ve chronicled galleries from 23rd to 26th street between Telegraph and Broadway as well as further downtown to Frank Ogawa Plaza that had new exhibitions on view, celebrating Oakland’s diverse and vibrant art community.

Mercury Twenty is currently showcasing three exhibitions filled with intriguing artwork by its partner artists: Kathleen King, “Out Here,” Hadley Williams, “Organic Abstraction,” and Ruth Tabancay, “Microcosmos.” Kathleen King’s painted constructions manifest from scraps of found wood from streets, building sites, and dumpsters. Her “visual lexicon” is created by spray-painting them with particular signs, markings, and colors that illustrate the relationships between the city and how it is navigated, used, and reactions from its inhabitants. Hadley Williams and Ruth Tabancay both alter and arrange mixed-media pieces using prefabricated materials to create compositions reminiscent of organic forms. Williams’ works possess an interesting tension between the real and the imagined by taking a cue from real, natural objects and adding her own unique imaginative spin.  With a background in science and a long-held attraction to pattern and texture, Tabancay artfully examines microscopic life: bacteria, fungal spores, amoeba, parasites, and human cells and tissues. Using these as the basis of her visual vocabulary, Tabancay conveys powerful messages about the universe within “microscopic untouchables” in rich tactile works of felted wool, stitching, and jacquard weaving. The exhibitions will be on view at Mercury Twenty Gallery through August 10.

Slate Contemporary’s “Slate Summer Collection,” features new work by the gallery’s artists Carol Inez Charney, Michele de la Menardiere, Joanne Fox, Carol Lefkowitz, Diane Rosenblum, Michelle Sakai, Victor Cohen Stuart, Talita Suassuna, and Patricia Thomas. As a group show in July perhaps should, “Summer Collection” reflects the warmer climate with brightly-colored abstracted artworks predominantly filling the room, while the figurative works include sunny sky subject matter with wispy clouds, or verdant, blossoming trees. If you missed any of Slate Contemporary’s shows this past year, or are curious about the artwork Slate Contemporary exhibits, check out this show through August 17. In FM Oakland’s “Within You and Without You,” drawings by Hannah Dancing and sculpture by Matt Dostal explore how personal material items define a “dwelling.” While Dostal examines this theme with found objects, Dancing draws inhabited spaces, illustrating how material objects, and the arrangement of these living spaces reflect the personalities of the occupants. “Within You and Without You” will be at FM Oakland through July 27.

“Bay Area Currents,” an annual showcase of the region’s top emerging artists held at ProArts Oakland is a critically-acclaimed juried exhibition and a highly anticipated event by both artists and art enthusiasts alike. This year’s iteration, “Navigating the New” was certainly a highlight of July’s Art Murmur, and will be on view through August 9. Each year, a nationally-recognized curator selects the participating artists. This year’s curator is Mr. Michael Schwager, Professor of Art History and Museum Studies and Director of the University Art Gallery at Sonoma State University. These fifteen artists, representing eleven San Francisco Bay Area cities, illustrate the energy and creativity within the region’s vibrant contemporary art scene: Chandra Baerg, Elizabeth Bennett, Jennifer Brandon, Madelyn Covey, Katie Dorame, Rodney Ewing, Julie Garner, John Hundt, Monica Lundy, Chelsea Pegram, Anna Simson, Patricia Thomas, Chris Thorson, Stephen Whisler, and Shannon Wright.