Cheap Wine, Free Cheese

Our critics review local visual arts exhibitions.

The Allstar Show — The Boontling Gallery has just opened its latest show, featuring the “very best” of its two years in existence. It’s a motley collection, with two pieces each from twelve artists. Crystal Morey’s include 3D wall hangings of a naked, pot-bellied woman sitting atop a Wally Byam-esque trailer home and another perched upon a hollow tree; Josh Keyes has painted nature scenes with a touch of Escher (e.g. a jungle cat pacing the inner surface of a wheel of grass, the opposite side of which is sidewalk). You’ll also find the heavy influence of graphic novel stylings in works by Loren Purcell, Vincent Perea, and Jon Nagel. Adam 5100’s gloomy but somehow fluid renderings of the basements and the understairs of buildings are surprisingly arresting, and John Casey’s meticulous mutant beings in jackets and ties may disturbingly remind you of a co-worker or boss. (Through December 17 at 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; or 510-295-8881.)

Body —Filling the largest room at the back of the enormous and slightly labyrinthine Esteban Sabar Gallery is Fernando Reyes’ collection of figurative works. His human forms — both his charcoal sketches and the precise, stylized oils — are wholly captivating. The charcoals at first glance seem realist, depicting the fleshy bodies you might glimpse in the gym locker room; on second look they are somewhat distorted, bearing hands too large for their bodies and other disproportions — hyperrealist rather than realist. The oils, often using the sketches as studies, are gorgeous — both minimal in their lines and detailed in Reyes’ attention to line and color. “Body Language: Saunas” has sprawled, overlapping bodies scattered at the bottom of a steel-gray field. The bodies — as much lines as forms — are the perfect warm-cool combinations of oranges, beiges, golds, green-grays, and blues. (Through November 27 at 480 23rd St., Oakland; or 510-444-7411.)

Dry Harvest — The Buzz Gallery recently opened this new show by David Wilson. The pencil drawings themselves are technically adept, but the real interest is in the canvases Wilson has chosen — delicate, worn, and sometimes crumbling paper and cardboard. It looks like his several “Leaves” may be drawn on old record sleeves or parchment paper, and his “Rose Petal” series is penciled on used, dried teabags; “Petal Quilt” is dozens of these bags, unevenly stained by tannins and collected into patchwork to form the surface for precise drawings of rose petals. In his artist’s statement, Wilson identifies his choice to depict grasses, petals, and feathers as arising from his attention to the “delicate, aged quality” of natural artifacts, and the “markings of change that are mapped and patterned on all things as they … become relics”; but he may as well be discussing his materials. (Through November 26 at Buzz Gallery, 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; or 510-465-4073.)

Signs of the Times — If you’re going to Lucky JuJu to indulge yourself in unlimited pinball ($10 for adults; $5 for kids), you might as well wander into its Trans View gallery and take a glance at Tim Volz’ “Signs of the Times.” It’s an amusing but often predictable series of photographs of altered billboards and other graffiti, including an appeal for the “parmise land” and spray-painted threats that Jesus saves. Perhaps the most amusing is an elaborate transformation of a Bruce Almighty movie billboard into a warning against George W. Bush, “Creep Almighty,” complete with an admonition to “Visualize Impeachment.” A reminder of different times with different “terrorist threats” is a circa-1983 Pall Mall billboard amended to suggest that you “Put a Bullet in Your Husband” and “Join the Lesbian Army.” (Through November 29 at 713 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda; or 510-205-9793.)

Support the East Bay Express, local news, donate

Newsletter sign-up

eLert sign-up

scattered clouds
49.7 ° F
52 °
47 °
83 %
41 %
61 °
57 °
55 °
58 °
56 °