Trading Places

Ten art professionals show off their own creative spark.

All artists know the anxiety of approaching galleries and their staffs of apparently fallen aristocrats, so it’s great to see some gallerists, curators, and arts administrators, themselves touched by Kandinsky’s “inner necessity,” nourishing their own creative spark after business hours. Double Exposure at Blankspace Gallery presents ten such professionals who are less well-known as artists, though undeservedly (such are the dilemmas of the multiple-hatted). Exhibiting here are: Kevin Chen (Intersection for the Arts, SF), Jen Elia (Fleetwing Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey), Narangkar Glover and Peter Glover (Rowan Morrison Gallery, Oakland), Eleanor Harwood (Eleanor Harwood Gallery, SF), Daniel Healey (LoBot Gallery, Oakland; Autobody Fine Art, Alameda; 314 15th St. Gallery, Oakland), Carrie Lederer (Bedford Art Gallery, Walnut Creek), Michelle Mansour (Root Division, SF), Nicole Neditch (Oakland Art Gallery; Mama Buzz Gallery, Oakland), and Margaret Tedesco (2nd Floor Projects, SF).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the artworks here reflect current trends: the use of vernacular materials and found objects; the sense of unknowable mystery; an idiosyncratic and sometimes playful eclecticism informed by both abstraction and conceptualism. Chen’s drawings (both entitled “The View from There”) seem initially to be minimalist works, but seen up-close, they reveal intricate drawings of houses lining their bottom edges like train cars. Elia’s paintings, similarly, seem to fall within a familiar mode (abstraction, here), but she includes written internal monologues that turn them into visual/verbal diaries. Narangkar Glover’s paintings, too, resemble abstract landscapes, but they’re based on her remembered observations of surgical procedures. The oddly named drawings and assemblages of Peter Glover (e.g., “Time-Wasting Machine #11”) take as their theme the collection of miscellaneous stuff and their incorporation into art. Harwood’s “Bower Bird” appears straightforwardly naturalistic at first, but this bird has strange collecting and decorating proclivities, rather like the flocks gathering elsewhere on First Thursdays or Fridays. Healey constructs collages of dumplike landscapes from scraps of taped-together imagery into a wryly humorous time-capsule environmentalist art. The poetic visual gardens that Lederer draws and paints and assembles seem infinite and scaleless. Mansour constructs elegiac nearly monochromatic abstractions suggestive of beads or pearls, or biological structures like blood cells. Neditch depicts figures from some imagined fairytale or ballet (“Mary and the Cow,” “Language of the Birds”) and lets us write the narratives. Finally, Tedesco memorializes things she’s collected: a 1976 Newsweek cover with Patty (Tania) Hearst; a photo-booth snapshot; a vintage shot of Vietnam-era draftees, now, forty years later, posterized.

Double Exposure runs through November 17 at Blankspace Gallery (6608 San Pablo Ave., Oakland).

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