Oakland Art Murmur, October 2011, choice works

Nathan Goodman at FM.

Goodman invents a beautiful, microcosmic world where simple robots seem to vie for life and struggle with their own clanky machinations. The world does not concern itself so much with refinements as it does with its own formal practicality. The name of the show is In Electric Slumber, which resonates to me as a reference to how we can never turn off, or power down the modern world, even when we sleep.

Cyrus Tilton at Vessel. photographed with permission.

The large installation that fills the gallery space is a kinetic work that is successful, even without the political denotation in the artist’s statement, maybe even in spite of it. Tilton’s vision is full of proportion and harmony and his rendered figures and fields are almost magnetically appealing.

Wayne Armstrong at Manna Gallery. Left. Stephen Whisler at Chandra Cerrito. Right.

Part of the artist-run Manna Gallery, Wayne Armstrong exhibits a series called Botanica Artiphonius, in which he imagines a world where artists have designed the plants instead of nature. Armstrong’s watercolors are stunningly realized. Watercolor is medium that is so often trapped in provincialism, when in the hands of a talented illustrator, it can be so much more.

Stephen Whisler at Chandra Cerrito. I’m actually not sure if David Ireland made these pieces of Stephen did. The statement was kind of ambiguous. I love this piece though. Probably most of all, the title: “A couple of pages from Ulysses soaked in my last cup of coffee.”

Michael Steffen at FM studios.

I met Michael while he was gallery sitting at FM. His oil painting landscapes remind me of photographs shot through hard-focused lenses that oscillate between foregrounds of hyper detail and distast, empty horizons.

Charlie Milgrim at Mercury20.

Milgrim is one of those artists who lives in a kind of Platonic, parallel universe of pure ideas and immaculate, artistic execution. I don’t need to write about his work: the feelings, the implications, the messages, it is all there and it is great.

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