Ripple Effects

David Molesky and Carol Inez Charney find beauty in hydrodynamics.

Water in motion is the subject of two shows in Oakland this month that are perfect for Bay Area wave-huggers: digital color photos by Carol Inez Charney and oil paintings on canvas by David Molesky.

Charney’s new medium- and large-format photos continue the eye-popping exploration of color and pattern that she began with Interior Landscape last October. With degrees in both painting and photography, Charney employs a mixed-media or cross-disciplinary approach to image-making, re-photographing her photos of architectural colored-rectangle motifs through panes of glass that she floods with water in various ways, so that her blurred photo color patches are overlaid with silvery streams that pick up the hues of their surroundings and backgrounds. Diffuse Rothko clouds, bright Hockney palettes, and winding Morris Louis rivulets thus combine “behind” glass — nice scenic weather! Charney mounts the photos (cryptically named “BEE 1,” “EOM 2,” and “NYC 3,” and the like) on masonite or aluminum laminated with non-glare plexiglass, although unmounted paper prints suitable for traditional framing are also available. Recent Work runs through January 29 at Slate Contemporary (4770 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). 510-652-4085 or

In Turbulent Mirror, the other discipline-spanning show, Molesky (who, incidentally, studied with Odd Nerdrum) is showing paintings derived from photographs of whitewater surf caught in all its boiling, frothy glory. “Passing Breakers,” “Glass Tops,” “Sliding Down Tongues,” and “Etheric Impulse” are dramatic but relatively objective studies of wave dynamics, while “Punch Bowl” and “Toxic Tide” take on colorations probably not found this side of a Turner painting or an active volcano like Krakatoa. Other paintings depict bizarre sunsets and cloud formations, while a set of circular-format paintings suggests views through microscopes and telescopes — and the old idea (promulgated by NASA circa 1969) that the blue world in the black void is a pretty darn special home planet. A portion of Molesky’s sales will be donated to Project Kaisei, sponsored by Sausalito nonprofit Ocean Voyages Institute, focusing on the Texas-size North Pacific Gyre, a vortex of plastic junk from all over the world trapped between mainland US and Hawaii. The first voyage of the sail-powered Kaisei is scheduled for this summer. An artist talk and a presentation by Project Kaisei’s Mary Crowley are scheduled for January; call gallery for date. Turbulent Mirror runs through January 22 at Rae Douglass Gallery (2911 Claremont Ave., Berkeley). 510-848-1228 or

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