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Review: Jingletown Holiday Art Walk

Submitted by on 1, December 22, 2010 – 12:03 amNo Comment

Mariah Carle, untitled (self-portrait), 2010. Photograph.

By Michael Singman-Aste

“I steal souls, then sell them back at a profit.” So says photographer Mariah Carle, one of 14 artists crammed into 4:20 Gallery at 420 Peterson Street in Oakland. The gallery is among a half dozen venues within a two-block radius just over the Park Street Bridge from Alameda that participated in the Fifth Annual Jingletown Holiday Art Walk on December 4-5.

Carle photographs everything from baby to boudoir. Whether it’s a toddler enchanted by bubbles or a man gleefully spanking a stuffed animal, a woman wearing a turtle on her head or a man capped with buttered pancakes, you get the feeling that she really does look past her subject’s exterior to capture what lies within.

4:20 was also host to artist blacksmith Grant Marcoux of Alameda’s Pilgrim Soul Forge. Objects on display included a dragon mirror, fireplace tools, knives, and what appeared to be a sewn lily, all made of forged and fabricated steel.

Leslie Frierman Grunditz, Origin of Ideas, 2008. Mixed-media.

Photographer Jan Watten shared her studio at 2889 Ford Street #32 with fellow Alamedan Leslie Frierman Grunditz, whose credits include SFMOMA Artists Gallery and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. She works in a variety of mediums, from acrylic painting to altered Barbie dolls. Here she exhibited her mixed-media collages.

These collages juxtapose the fanciful chaos of childhood forced into orderly structures through black-and-white lessons, as in “Limitation” (2005) with its text “birds can fly” and “dogs cannot fly.”

The Ford Street Studios, at 2934 Ford Street, is a labyrinthine complex where it is easy to lose yourself, and find great art. It seems that on every visit I follow a new corridor, turn a corner, and discover another sculptor. On previous visits it was Chris Kanyusik and Darwin Price. This time it was Stan Peterson.

Stan Peterson, Moonwatchers, 2010. Carved and painted basswood.

Peterson’s studio in #4 is filled with the stuff of dreams. He pulls archetypal imagery from his dreams as well as everyday life. Totemic animals figure prominently in his work, particularly rabbits that are wily, or downright menacing. He draws them, and then carves them out of wood. Frequently he creates work that includes several freestanding pieces and prefers to keep their positions fluid rather than dictating their orientation and relationship.

This holiday art walk has come and gone, but it’s not too late to visit these artists. Contact information can be found on the website of the Jingletown Arts & Business Community at http://jingletown.org. Don’t forget that art makes a great last-minute gift!

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