Archive for the ‘WORKS THAT HAUNT’ Category

Click here to link to the Coyote & Thunder article on the colossal desert installations of Noah Purifoy.

Pop-up hood is rocking Old Oakland these days. It truly has revolutionized the experience of strolling through those great old buildings near 9th and Broadway. Where just a month ago there were empty store fronts and struggling office-spaces, now brightly merchandised shops display local crafts –  a brilliant turn around full of love and hope.

Above, left,  Papa Llama’s awesome dreamcatchers…yes, I like dreamcatchers (at least awesome ones like these) at Piper and John General Goods, 465 9th Street. Above, right, Scott Macleod’s amazing boat at Holidayland in Marion and Rose’s Workshop, next door.

Some of the talented ladies of Pop-Up Hood. Left, Sarah Swell and Kate Ellen of Crown Nine at 461 A 9th Street. Then right, Alli and Sarah Filley, on of the co-counders of Pop-Up Hood.

Check out this great video documentary by Eva Kolenko that tells the whole story. The grand opening party was last night, so get down to Old Oakland and explore all the goods.

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.

“Small Waters Seeping Upward” is the title Of Maya Kabat’s show at Victorian Rat. I’ve been a follower of her work for a long time now as she is a Bay Area artist who is fun to watch evolve. Her abstraction moves from one theme to another over the years in an almost geologic way. Carefully, slowly, but with sudden bits of color and graphic-excitement that shock and quake. In this show, in these immediate and unrestrained drawings, we see text emerging, informing the work where we are left without in her oil paintings.  The content of the text as it relates to the compositions is emotive, emphatic and evocative. Almost pornographic, not is a smutty way, but in an unbridled and furious way.

Victorian Rat is located at 3758 Manila Ave, Oakland, California. It is open by appointment at 510.575.9ART

Elliot is not only one of the most talented, intuitive artists I know, he is also one of my oldest friends. I am so looking forward to his reception Saturday night down at Zza’s. Zza’s casual atmosphere is a perfectly comfortable environment for Elliot’s first show. I’m sure it will be a wonderful August night, warm smiles augmented by a few glasses of wine from one of the best collections in the Bay Area.

I remember when Elliot and I were both thirteen years old, just learning to paint and draw and Elliot would blow me away with his confident sense and his curvelinear graphic style.

Fast forward to the present day and I am so pleased to present the debut show of his work in the Bay Area. Trained as a gardener and a bike mechanic, Elliot’s outsider work is hugely refreshing to our local scene. The simple imagery in the work itself draws on wordly traditions, evoking disparate cultures and uniting them with a quality that appears remarkably free of influences and yet completely intellectual, based in philosophy.

He and I had a talk yesterday about the new paintings he has prepared for his show on Saturday night.

Obi: There are images, or not images, but shapes in your work that may be interpreted as sexual, right? what do you say to that.

Elliot: Well okay, take for instance the mushroom cloud shape. It contains a form that is at the same time, what we might traditionally think about as both masculine and feminine. There is the upward thrusting movement coming from a single point to what is, especially when seen from below, the enveloping, female shape of convection. So that is where it is at, this Ur-sexuality… The dividing point… It’s binary: the dividing point between zero and one. It’s cellular mitosis.  It is sexual on that level. It comes from, partly, your input, Obi, and the work we’ve done together but also for my own practice purposes. I have been trying to explore all of this.

Obi: Practice. That is an interesting idea. Do you think of your painting as a meditative practice in and of itself?

Elliot: This series was prompted by a meeting with my fiance, Catherine (Meng)’s mentor in New Mexico, Shelley Horton-Trippe. Simply based on the information that I was a painter and I hadn’t been painting, she gave me an assignment: you should work on small things in a series. She said pick a number.

Obi: What was the number?

Elliot: I think I said four. That turn into quadratic multiples.

Obi: Four turned into sixteen.

Elliot: So practice in the straight forward sense of being given an assignment and to paint again after not having painted for twelve to fourteen years. Then, bouncing off one or two of these images that were complete at the time. The blue orb is the oldest… painted that in 97. Specifically that one: that is the seed.

Obi: So what is the Orb?

Elliot: Well the orb is oddly a personal reference to the fact that I was listening to the Orb the last time I painted in my early twenties.

Obi: I appreciate the non-obvious answer.

Elliot: I was introduced to the Orb around that time by the very-excellent painter Clay Witt, who I knew in Arizona but now teaches in Virginia. He said that to me one day, he said you know, the really unifying thing I see in your work is the Orb. About two weeks before that he started playing me the Orb, I had never heard them before. So, anyway, full moons, the cyclical energy, this kind of thing.

Obi: Do you name your shapes ever? They seem like they have an almost mathematical life all to themselves?

Elliot: No. I resist classifications although I can’t deny the taxonomy. I work from a sense of starting over. I stick to the simple practice of the binary as it relates to the practice of the curve, if you will.

Oh I will Elliot, I will. No, you can’t find him on facebook.

The Paintings of Elliot Fredericksen
Zza’s Wine Bar Gallery
550 Grand Ave.
Oakland, California

Show reception: Saturday Augst 13th, 2011. 6pm-9pm
Show runs through September 17th

I am obsessed with Oakland art. What is this mangled rainbow? What is this nuclear tidepool? Where, what and who is the true Oakland? Under the beautiful East Bay sky on an early fall evening, it is easy to wander from one gallery to the next and daydream about how the discrepancies define the unity of this regional art powerhouse. The truth is that plurality defines the identity and is the source of an authority in this community that yearns to be truly metropolitan and is certainly past provincial. Art certainly reflects as much as it does invent and this month it hit me hard, all of it: the mechanical to the organic, the natural to the toxic, the violent to the compassionate, the harmonious to the cocophanous…It is with this backdrop, this perpetually emerging culture, I have prepared below a wide swath of images of work that will continue to haunt me, the very best of the work that is being exhibited in Oakland Galleries right now.

Dan Grayber at 21Grand.

Jen Tong at Oakapolis.

Dave Meeker at Mercury20.

Installation by Elle and Denise Joy Amos at FM Gallery.

Misako Inaoka at Johansson Projects.

Jonathen David and Otto Schroeder at Hatch Gallery.

Brian Caraway at Chandra Cerrito.

Wendy Crittenoen at 4707 Telegraph.

Walking west on 25th and Telegraph, Oakland, California. 6:13 pm, November 5th, 2010

Installation by Brian Caraway at Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery. Opened last night. I walked in and nearly cried. One of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen.

Kerri Johnson’s show, up now at the Compound Gallery, is a deceptively simple show. I saw it for the first time at the opening and I can’t get it out of my head. Take for instance, the piece above: the lines are not drawn so much as burned into the wood. This strange boat, with a house and a horse’s head, like a living thing, bobbing adrift with no shore in sight, stubborn, lost and joyful under a wooden sky.

“Limbic” Pinar Yoldas and David J. Paulsen, laser cut out acrylic, 2010

as displayed at Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley as part of the show “Knowledge Hacking” cur. Anuradha Vikram

Rae Douglass “James” inkjet on museum board, life size bust

as seen at Rae Douglass Gallery, formerly Girgi Gallery, 2911 Claremont Ave. Berkeley

souq runs through Oct. 16th.

Tim Cohen as seen at Five Points Art House. Show runs through Sept. 11. 2010. 72 Tehama, San Francisco. California.

from the Five Points website: “Sound and Vision is a group show at Fivepoints Arthouse in San Francisco which contains visual art made by S.F. Bay Area musicians. Sound and vision seeks to investigate the crossover of artistic impulse between the worlds of Music and Art.
Not only will this show feature Visual Art, there will also be musical performances from some of the participating artists.
There is a rich history of musicians who also make visual art, and SFitAll and Fivepoints Arthouse invite you to join this latest crop of talented artists.”

Narangkar Glover as seen at “Juried @ BAC, all media/California” selections by Lauren Davies and Carrie Lederer. Through Sept 26. 2010. 1275 Walnut Street. Berkeley California


Hilary Pecis as seen at “Juried @ BAC, all media/California” selections by Lauren Davies and Carrie Lederer. Through Sept 26. 2010. 1275 Walnut Street. Berkeley California

Hannah Stouffer

Hannah Stouffer as seen at Free Gold Watch, 1767 Waller St. San Francisco. Show runs through July 17. 2010


Ken Davis, as seen at Free Gold Watch, 1767 Waller St. San Francisco. show runs through July 17. 2010


  • Moises Aragon