Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Group Show at Front Gallery (Oakland)

Alert: This exhibit is scheduled to close on 9/30/06.

The current exhibit at Front Gallery (Oakland) is worth a visit. It’s a four-artist show entitled “Dowser’s Delight (Divining the Inner Cartographic Impulse).” One of the artist, Casey Jex Smith, has been doing a series of drawings that bring together different styles of representation, using different media, in compositions that suggest cosmic forces at work. He has set a difficult problem for himself, and some works in this series do not strike me as coherent. His successes, however, are a joy to behold. The show includes a superb instance, entitled “The Fountain of Youth in Proxy for the Tree of Life," This 22" x 22" work on paper employs ink, marker, and colored pencil (photo above, adapted from the artist’s website). This work with its hundreds of marks shows an exceptionally fine hand. Two other drawings are also on view.

Chris Pew also makes a good showing. There are a couple of paintings that display a fascination with modular shapes deployed in an artificial space that is indebted to sci-fi and perhaps video games. One of these is “Outside the Region of Eternity,” a 22" x 30" work of acrylic on paper (photo above, from the Receiver Gallery website). But I was more captivated by the small ink-on-paper drawings (example below).

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