Island arts: “Cross Currents”
By Michael Singman-Aste
Sponsored by the Island Alliance of the Arts non-profit, the fourth annual “Cross Currents” exhibit at the Alameda Museum is billed as an exhibit of California artists, with one coming from as far away as Bristol in Southern California. But with 22 out of 38 artists from Alameda and the exhibit capably installed by local wood artist Peter Sanderson, it may as well be “The Alameda Show.”
Some of the best work was also contributed by Alamedans, including Feng Jin. “My sculpture is an intimacy [sic] dialogue between a human and the boundless strength of metal,” Feng writes in his statement, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his patina-finished stainless steel sculpture “David.”
N. Teddy Goldsworthy-hanner, a professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, shows two encaustic pieces. The rustic panel adorned with images of wild horses, “Like Wind & Sunsets,” is also inscribed with a quote from environmentalist Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac”:
Like wind and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a (still) higher standard of living is worth the cost in things (natural) wild and free.
Painter and printmaker Gary Comoglio works in the style of a number of movements, from Impressionism to Surrealism. His “soft cubist” acrylic “Nude with Bonsai” is gorgeous and inviting, and despite his use of “cool” colors the feeling is warm and lush.
Work by other Bay Area artists deserving mention includes “Neiman Marcus – Mannequin,” a photograph by William Van Meter of Oakland. Van Meter has been photographing storefronts for a decade, recording the changes in displays and capturing what he calls “the haughty to the naughty.”
Justin Yanke of Emeryville, whose credits include The Columbus Museum of Contemporary Art in Ohio, contributes a remarkable photo-realistic graphite drawing, “Closed Hand.” The detail is amazing, down to the thumb’s slightly ragged cuticle.
Many attempt to imbue mediocre photos with beauty or meaning by applying “artistic” filters in Photoshop. Maria Foley of Palo Alto states on her website that “(p)hotographs are collaged and heavily manipulated in Photoshop,” which is usually enough to send me running. But Foley’s photo collages are exquisite. An artist in residence at Berkeley’s Kala Art Institute, her work is further enhanced by the printing process, photopolymer etching with a chine-collé layer. Along with Feng Jin’s “David,” Foley’s “Star Gazing” is my pick for Best of Show.
“Cross Currents” opens today and continues through July 30 at the Alameda Museum, 2324 Alameda Avenue, with a reception from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 10 and talks by the artists from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on July 24. Their phone number is 521-1233.