‘Domicile Tendencies’ and ‘Residue’

Domestic tranquility at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary and Martina Johnston.

In the nuclear-apocalypse romantic comedy Blast from the Past, Sissy Spacek’s Sixties homemaker deals with upsetting news — a mutant third sex has arisen during her family’s long fallout-shelter sojourn underground — by engaging in a flurry of manic sink-scrubbing. Housework can be therapeutic even for today’s evolved domestic gods and goddesses combating dust, grease, and entropy together. In Domicile Tendencies, seven artists explore houses as shelters, refuges, aesthetic creations, and status trophies.

Alexa Kay Alexander plays with representation and materiality in her digital print of a swimming pool bedecked with sparkling wave patterns, an excised section of the image revealing an excavated square of blank gallery wall; and in her 35mm slide projected onto the wall next to a square aperture in the sheetrock, revealing the brickwork beneath. Taryn McCabe’s drawings of den, patio, toilet, and bathroom on Shrinky-Dink plastic suggest ironic coloring-book illustrations; her tableau of felt-covered objects — chairs, floor lamps, table, suitcase, and duffel bag — suggests objects for home and travel cozily mummified in neutral off-white. Claudia Tennyson‘s curtains, painted with brick walls, frame the brick-clad gallery windows wittily, while Tyson Washburn‘s color photos of homes like “1000 Holland Dr.” depict less-than-impressive views of suburban McMansions from the sides and rear. Allison Watkins embroiders onto silk fabric her sidelong views of hanging garments in “Hers and His” and her two “Closet Study” pieces. Stephen Whisler explores the house as temporal and temporary vehicle in his wooden, wheeled, portable “Play House,” with its charred window frames, and “For the Birds,” a flock of gaily painted birdhouses shaped like human coffins. Holly Williams‘ paintings, “Lady with Dog” and “Phantom House,” deriving from faded photographs or movie stills, invoke the irretrievable past without revealing or falsifying it. Domicile Tendencies runs through May 13 at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (480 23rd St., Oakland). 415-577-7537 or ChandraCerritoContemporary.com.

Renée Delores interprets the title of her show, Residue, as the “psychic undercurrent” imbued in objects by prolonged human use that must be set free. She recycles objects, creating circular and spiral forms, in the spirit of 1970s feminist earth and ritual art, citing an excerpt from critic Lucy Lippard’s Overlay on Smithson and Morris, Vico and Lévi-Strauss. “Borne Witness (after Domenico Caramagno)” comprises 24 beige/yellowish beeswax-coated papers marked by frass stains where poisoned bees died on Delores’ studio floor. “Caffeine” duplicates in thread the web of a jittery spider. “Residue” is a pair of webs/rugs fashioned from discarded clothes and shed parrot feathers. Residue runs through May 22 at Martina Johnston (1201 6th St., Berkeley). 510-558-0993 or MartinaJohnston.org

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