Archive for the ‘THE WINE BAR GALLERY’ Category

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Statement by Martin Webb:

“Like many people viewing these pictures, I arrived at the East Bay from somewhere else. Many of us may continue our journeys to another somewhere else ‐ we are still a largely migratory species. It seems odd and incongruous that “The Immigration Issue” is such a large political entity whilst people’s individual migration stories are each unique and the sum of many small personal dramas. The paths that our lives follow tend to be the result of rational decisions, accidents, temptations, failures, luck, trial and error, intellect and intuition. The same can be said of the way the images in these paintings take shape. This group of pictures result from thinking about migration and immigration, and particularly about the personal journeys that people make. They’re populated by a cast that includes hopeful day‐laborers, forgotten coal miners, and elusive coyotes caught in fragmented narratives in fragmented landscapes. When looking at the work it may be useful to know that I grew up in an English town where coal was mined until Mrs. Thatcher shut down both the mines and the town. I left for Art School, trained as a painter, taught, travelled and found my way to the Bay where I worked with art and concrete. I spent a lot of time on construction sites and more time than anyone should at Home Depot. “

I hate Wine Bar Art. I really do. Most of the time, in any given Wine Bar, the art is purely decorative work with no thematic relevancy. But now I have a problem: I love wine. I really do.
Over a year ago, I was asked to take over organizing the calendar of art events at Zza’s Wine Bar, the one attached to Zza’s Enoteca and Trattoria that sits lakefront in Downtown Oakland. I declared that if I was going to do this, we would have to show work that you would never expect to see in the classic wine bar setting. Since then, Zza’s has hosted eleven solo shows by emerging and important voices in local art. The media and themes show are as diverse as the City of Oakland itself: from graphic design, to illustration, to cyanotype photograph, to wall hung sculpture, to embroidery, The shows themselves have routinely impressed the community with meaningful, professionally presented work that holds its own critically. The Receptions have become famous for having the best complimentary finger-foods ever served at an art event. It is clear the team at Zza’s is committed to attracting quality artists and presenting beautiful art.
The Show “Red and White” is Zza’s first Group show of Alumni artists who have all had solo shows at the Wine Bar in the past year.

-Obi Kaufmann

Dave Higgins (

Nathaniel Parsons (
Dana Fenwick

ceramicist Carrissa Bowman and artist/curator Steven Barich

Carrissa Bowman

Sarah Filley (

Dan Nelson, Nathaniel Parsons, Dave Higgins and me, Obi Kaufmann.

drawings by Obi Kaufmann (


A solo exhibition of photography

by Theo Konrad Auer
Opening Reception: 6-9 p.m., Saturday, August 29. 2009
Oakland, CA

August 5, 2009 –Oakland artist and curator Obi Kaufmann is proud to announce the latest in a series of dynamic art exhibitions featuring emerging Oakland artists.

“WE ARE NOT RESPONSE FOR ANY BELONGING,” a solo exhibition of photography by artist, curator and journalist Theo Konrad Auer, will be available for viewing from Saturday, August 29- October 2, 2009 at Zza’s Wine Bar and Gallery, 552 Grand Avenue in Oakland.

pics are from a recent meeting with Theo, and are only indicative of what will actually be in the show. -obi
“It is surprising,” says Kaufmann “what a critical and indeed commercial eye Theo has for photography. We all know Theo’s involvement in the community, but his art is really good too. Zza’s, with its amazing hospitality to the local art scene, is the perfect place to exhibit Theo’s first public show of photography.”
Oakland-born and based, Theo Auer documents the world in which he is as much a participant as an observer and critic. Auer helped found Oakland’s popular monthly first Friday Art Murmur artwalk event. And as a blogger and reporter, his artist exposes, reviews and coverage of issues paramount to Oakland’s art community, have been published in a variety of local and national publications, including Juxtapoz, Hi Fructose, Art Business and The Oakbook. Inspired by the works of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and William Eagleston, Auer now aims to stake out a middle ground between the worlds of photojournalism and what The Academy and market have traditionally deemed “artistic photography.”

In Auer’s own words: “I live in a world at flux in a time of gentrification that I believe is not occurring as rapidly as many say, but is rather in the middle of its cycle, begun just before my birth at the end of the seventies, in a hospital that no longer exists. The Lake Merritt Hospital, long demolished, still stands in my memory – its phantom architecture flickering in and out of Oakland’s skyline. There is a compelling irony in that I was born in an institution now long dead; and yet, I have been, for the last several years, the chronicler of many art spaces now dead, too. This is my story, though it is clearly a side story; a subplot in the greater narrative I have authored.

Through these photos taken with cheap cameras on manual settings, I have attempted to tie and sew together the fragmented threads of a life lived in as much flux as the world I find myself in. Some are seemingly abstract; some are a meditation on the perception of time in a shifting landscape; and others give off a grim, dry humor. In all, nothing is edited; nothing is interfered with. To do so would be an abominable violation of the trust I have placed in the seconds that make up the moments you will be seeing before your eyes, and fill the gap in which your personal prejudices set in.”

Obi Kaufmann

Art Curator
Zza’s Wine Bar & Gallery
550 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610


  • Moises Aragon