Granted, this is really not a “road” trip for us, but for someone living in Denver it could be….
After months of a dehydrated rainy season, we finally got some rain. Oola and I are waterproof, so umbrellas in hands we headed out to an Opening Reception for a show at ProArts Gallery, in Civic Center, downtown Oakland. Works in this show were chosen by peer review — a novel premise for a show and an instructive process. We were not disappointed with the results. There were so many great pieces it was hard to choose what to write about.
I was happy to find my artist book “Wave” displayed in a generous space to its best advantage –
and in the best of company.
I was completely smitten by Michael Koehle’s “Sink”. It has the translucent depth of layers and layers of wax. I’m not sure how it was done, but the drawing (pigment print) seemed to float somewhere in the middle of those layers. Poetic merging of content and medium. Exquisite linear quality. Love it!
Nearby are two paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank. At first they only whispered to me.
Then, on the second go-round — all forty layers of nearly transparent paint sucked me in. A memory of listening to Mozart intensely and hearing (for the first time) the silence between the notes, the minute space between the end of one sound and the beginning of the next sound — that memory jumped to mind. Later Bernadette told me about the Japanese concept of “Ma” which is about the spaces in between — in time, in space. Something like what artists call negative space, which is not negative at all, but can be considered to be the form between the forms, or that which gives the forms their shape. Exceptional work!
All the way on the other side of the gallery is a pair of embroidered silk hangings by Tali Weinberg. She tells us that the strong text is from her conversations with Bay Area women — artists, activists, and scholars. The strength, directness and weight of the stitching underlines the intensity of the verbal sentiments.
These complex works really need to be seen with light coming through them. The strands of red on the back, strangely compelling and reminiscent of dripping blood, are as strong as the words on the front.
Light as a breeze through drying laundry, heavy as a dying social construct.
One more — though there are so many good ones! Dear to my heart are the folded elephant-hide paper constructions of Goran Konjevod.
I asked him if he had thoughts of making larger constructions. The problem is finding the paper strong enough to resist the force of gravity. “Perhaps in Bronze”, Oola said. “Maybe”, said Goron. He’s working on the “how” of it now.
I felt proud to be included in this collection from Bay Area artists. The artists will be talking about and taking questions about their work on Saturday Feb. 15th, starting at 2PM in the gallery. The show is up through Feb. 21.
You can visit Bernadette Jiyong Frank’s blog to see unobstructed views of more work in the show.
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza,
Oakland, CA (Close to 12th St. BART station)
www.proartsgallery.org510 763 4361
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 11AM to 4PM.