Category: Exhibitions

Tara Esperanza in SH1FT

Tara Esperanza, a Mercury 20 Gallery artist is included in an upcoming group show “SH1FT” at The Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette CA.

Tara’s painting Chopsticks in 2020 40 x 20 acrylic on canvas will be on view June 5th through July 10th at The Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery. This exhibition features Bay Area Artists and is about capturing the feeling of shifting through life and art. Artists use their medium as a form of communication and expression. Tara created this painting as a reflection and an expression of her experience last year while the fires raged on in Northern California. She says, “In the past when I would see this type of succulent on my daily runs I would visualize them against a red sky. The image kept showing up for me, but at the time it seemed so abstract. Being a realist I put the idea in my back pocket. Then the unimaginable happened last year and that red sky was no longer abstract, but in fact very real. So much has happened that has shifted my perspective. What was once abstract is now reality.”

There will be an Artists Reception at 3525 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA on Saturday June 5th from 11 to 5 pm. Due to cautious COVID 19 measures the gallery requests notice of attendance. If you would like to attend the opening please email Tara the # of people and the time that you plan to go to  She will notify the gallery on your behalf. Otherwise gallery hours are Wed. – Fri. 1 to 5 & Sat. 11-5  to view the exhibition.

We are excited to see the exhibition and what these artists have created. Follow Tara on Instagram @taraesperanza to see more of what she is up to and check out her website to view more of her paintings.

Chopsticks in 2020, Tara Esperanza, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 20



We are pleased to share that two artist members of Mercury 20 Gallery are included in this online exhibition.


MARCH 18, 2021 – MAY 13, 2021

Elizabeth Sher
Crossing the Digital Divide #8, 2013
Archival ink on canvas with acrylic
Mary Curtis Ratcliff
24″ x 30″
Curatorial Reflections
Building Bridges: Breaking Barriers is an attempt to tackle the issue of rampant ageism plaguing
our society by highlighting a group of Bay Area artists who demonstrate a continuous evolution
of artistic output with unpredicted shifts in style and medium that span several decades. As
revealed by artist statements, some of the shifts might have been instigated by the COVID-19
pandemic, imposed barriers of the art market, the intersections with science and digital
technology, that have contributed to new exciting vistas of a very crowded creative field.
What do we learn about breaking barriers and building bridges? How do we keep relevant and
reinvent ourselves through a lifetime? Can a prolific output and active presence in the art world
change minds and perceptions of growing older? Can we break barriers and build bridges that go
beyond the art community? Is technology the ultimate barrier-breaker that transcends diverse
communities, be it race, culture or economic difference? What is the role of memory? Are
breaking of barriers, or walls, physical or metaphorical, can help pave the way to building bridges
for the sake of common good? These are some of the issues that we pursue during the course of
this exhibition.
Once we understand that breaking barriers are possible, we can envision the building of bridges
that are multidisciplinary, intergenerational and multicultural, that unite us in a common cause.
Recognizing the existence of prejudice against the older adults can be made by confronting
visual and representational ageism usually seen in the media. This exhibition provides a
framework that promotes positive attitudes and appreciation leading us to building a more
sustainable bridge, when dealing with ageism and beyond. The questions I raise: Can art change
our mind and perception? This elusive question will continue to guide us throughout this series
and will continue to allude long after the memories of this show fade.
– Curator Hanna Regev
Elizabeth Sher and Mary Curtis Ratcliff will be participating in an artist talk Session Two: April 29 4:30 – 5:30
To register go here
Ruth’s Table
3160 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

4 x 8 Bridges SF Arts Week

In the tradition of San Francisco’s celebration of the visual arts in January, Mercury 20 Gallery is pleased to participate in 4 x 8-BRIDGES, an online art fair that includes thirty-six Northern California art galleries, each showing four works, as well as a series of talks, webinars, and video walk-throughs. We invite you to visit the site January 25-31, in support of our arts community. Here is the direct link to the Mercury 20 Gallery page ~ 8-Bridges

Mercury 20 has two video events in conjunction with the fair. The first is a roundtable discussion, Zooming In: Form, Pixel, Movement, Story featuring four gallery artists: Kathleen King, Chris Komater, Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Johanna Poethig discuss their work.
VIDEO: Form, Pixel, Movement, Story

The gallery also presents a walk-through of its current group show 2020 Re:Vision presented by gallery artist Christine Meuris.
VIDEO: 2020 Re:Vision Walkthrough

Thanks for watching and we hope you enjoy!

Earth Station Garden
Acrylic on canvas
84 x 84 inches

acrylic, colored pencil, Japanese ink brush pen and digital inkjet print on milky acetate, steel, monofilament
64 x 60 x 58 inches

Mom and Dad, Chicago, June 23, 1951
Digital C-print
30 x 42 inches, framed

Kathleen King
Monument to the Precariat 1-3, 2018
Found plastic containers
Dimensions variable

Peter Honig participating in “Nature Wills Us On”


“Path” by Peter Honig is one of four images included in an online exhibition “Nature Wills Us On”.

We are happy to share with you the current exhibition “Nature Wills Us On” by Curator Gwenda Joyce. She has assembled the work of eight artists “faced with existential challenges …[who]… turn to nature for renewal, comfort, beauty, and respite.”

The exhibition continues on through this Sunday, December 13th.

Visible at

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today

“Specialist Murphy” 52 x 62  oil and graphite on panel  2016

We would like to send a big congratulations to Julianne Wallace Sterling ~ a Mercury 20 Gallery Artist whom has been selected as a finalist in The Outwin: Amercian Portraiture Today. A major exhibit to feature timely portraits on socio-political themes.

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today a major exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery featuring the finalists of its fifth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.  Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts chosen by the Portrait Gallery. In 2019, nearly 50 works were selected from over 2,600 entries in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, time-based media and performance art.  The resulting presentation reflects the compelling and diverse approaches that today’s artists are using to tell the American story through portraiture. Finalists have come from 14 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today features intimate depictions of individuals whose remarkable stories are rooted in the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Many of the leading national conversations from the past three years—immigration, the rights of workers, climate change and the impact of racial violence—are presented here on a personal level. It is a moment to stop, look around and admire the tenacity and beauty of the American spirit through portraiture.”

The latest edition of The Outwin addresses themes of socio-political relevance, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, adolescence, the status of American workers, gun violence and LGBTQ+ rights.

The jurors for the 2019 Competition were Harry Gamboa Jr., artist, writer and co-director of the program in photography and media at the California Institute of the Arts; Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Byron Kim, artist and senior critic at the Yale School of Art; and Jefferson Pinder, artist and professor of sculpture and contemporary practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three Portrait Gallery curators also served on the committee: Taína Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and Latino art and history; Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture and performance art; and Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator emerita.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, available at the Springfield Museums Store.

M20 Gallery Artists in the De Young Open

Congratulations to Mercury 20 Gallery artists Jill McLennan and Neo Serafimidis for their inclusion in the DeYoung Open, a juried community art exhibition presenting over 1,000 works by Bay Area artists. The show fills the 12,000-square-foot Herbst Exhibition Galleries at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and is on display through January 3, 2021. The Museum is now open to the public with covid 19 safety measures in place. For more info on the exhibit visit:

See our artists’ work at:  and

Neo Serafimidis  Bryant. The Sheltering Night series, May 2020.

Neo Serafimidis  Azevedo. The Sheltering Night series, May, 2020.

Jill McLennan  Shee Crane, watercolor, collage and paint pens on wood, 24″x30″ 2019





Pantea Karimi selected for San Jose’s Holding the Moment exhibition at San Jose Airport.

Pantea Karimi’s poster California Healing,  featuring her stylized depiction of the medicinal native herb Yarrow ,was selected for Holding the Moment, a group art exhibition  representing the City of San Jose. The exhibition venue is the San Jose airport from Nov 2020-April 2021 and is comprised of the work of painters, muralists, graphic artists, photographers, and poets who address themes that reflect on sheltering in place, scenes from quarantine and its’ impact on the individual, community & society,  and the evolving meanings of community in this unprecedented time.

Yarrow, is a hardy pest and drought resistant plant that grows throughout the Bay Area. It  has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions, as it has anti-bacterial qualities, improves circulation, and promotes clearing of the respiratory tract. Pantea’s colorful and abstracted depiction of this “multi-talented” herb promotes the connection between the environment and healing, reiterating the interconnectedness of plants and animals. The poster received an award of special distinction among the exhibitors.

The original artwork from which the poster design was adapted from, Endemic Healing iii, Yarrow, CA , is available as a limited edition print on linen photo paper. Available for purchase in our store  .

Pantea Karimi to exhibit at the University of Arizona & published in the UK’s Journal of Mathematics and Arts.

Three of M20’s Pantea Karimi’s Moon artworks have been selected for the Art of Planetary Science exhibition, organized by the science department at the University of Arizona. Imaging the Moon i, Imaging the Moon ii,  & The Infinite Moon i evolved out of her 2019 Mercury Twenty show COUNTDOWN: BIRUNI – GALILEO – APOLLO, which explored about  astronomy and the Moon landing. The exhibition features artwork that is created from scientific data, or incorporates scientific ideas, with the aim of providing a new perspective on the work of scientists and the universe. The yearly exhibit finds common ground between artists and scientists.

In addition, Pantea’s medieval math project An Homage to Khayyam and Pascal  was published in the UK’s Journal of Mathematics and the Arts . The publication, established in 2007,  is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that deals with relationship between mathematics and the arts.

image: Khayyam-Pascal, Installation view, The Rotch Library at MIT, 2018

Pantea’s work, which began in 2014,  explores the mathematics of medieval Iran, known as The Islamic Golden Age of Science.  She writes of her inspiration for the above image:

“This gave me an opportunity to delve into my origins and place of birth and understand the Persian culture from another perspective. It was here that I came across Pascal’s Triangle. The triangular pattern of binomial coefficients was intensely striking visually, ideal for my work. Digging deeper, I learned that the discovery of binomial coefficients is named after the seventeenth-century French mathematician, Blaise Pascal. However, it emerged that centuries before, Omar Khayyam, the twelfth-century Iranian mathematician and poet, was already studying binomial numbers. In December 2015, The Guardian published an article about a new book, Mathematics and Art: A Cultural History by historian Lynn Gamwell (2016). In her book, Gamwell clearly explains the binomial numbers’ triangle and its history. In Figure 1, each hexagon contains a number which is the sum of the numbers above it. For example, in the last row, the number 792 is the sum of the two numbers 330 + 426. This triangular pattern in Iran is known as Khayyam’s triangle after Omar Khayyam who described the same pattern earlier than Pascal.”

Artists Staying Active

Mercury 20 Gallery artists Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Elizabeth Sher have been included in the newly published Bay Area Women Artists’ Legacy Project Book.

The Bay Area Women Artists (BAWA) Legacy Project aims to both safeguard and highlight women’s contribution to Bay Area art. They believe that an understanding of the local art scene in the past 50 years requires a full examination of women’s contributions and that this possibility will be lost unless art institutions, curators, and historians join in an effort to preserve the legacy of Bay Area women artists.

The statistics are alarming. As the Guerrilla Girls and others have clearly shown, women continue to be under-represented in museum shows and collections and undervalued at art auctions. One consequence is that few women are able to afford the creation of a foundation to oversee their legacy. Institutional support is needed. BAWA has opened a dialogue on this issue. Their members have been practicing art for more than 20 years and have shown extensively. In addition, many have been active in feminist art groups since the 1970s, helping to increase the visibility of women artists throughout the Bay Area.


California Sunset, a 52 x 42 inch painting by Mercury 20 Gallery member Tara Esperanza is included in the 10th annual group show California Dreaming: Finding Beauty in My Own Backyard. The exhibition will run September 16 – December 11, 2020 at The Village Theatre Art Gallery in Danville California. The show was juried by Shelley Barry, principal at Slate Contemporary Gallery, Oakland. Initially this exhibit was planned for in-person viewing, but due to Covid 19 and the Contra Costa County health guidelines, it is now online until further notice.

Tara says…. “I am deeply drawn to succulents. I love their character. How they change throughout the seasons. The abundant varieties of texture, color, and shape. I paint large canvases of small succulents. I find interesting compositions and celebrate the beauty of the plants. I love how the succulents share space. Lean on each other, or hold each other up. Succulents bring me joy and I see them as divine in nature.


Mercury 20 Gallery member Andrea Brewster has had three sculptures accepted for the Headford Lace Project’s show in Ireland, The Space Between. The exhibition will taking place in October and will take the form of an art trail around the town with lace/artwork exhibited in various locations and curated window displays.

The history of lace is a fascinating story and one which is full of contradictions. It was and still is used to make christening gowns to welcome new born babies, but is also used to make coffin cloths and mourning veils at the end of life. Making lace was considered an appropriate pastime for ladies of high moral stature but also used to ‘reform’ women of low moral values. From a visual perspective, lace is made up of both open and solid spaces where equal importance is placed on that which does not exist, as is placed on the threads that holds it all together. Lace provided a sense of independence as women could earn a living from selling their work. However, lace is also associated with the forced labor of women living in state run institutions who worked without remuneration. Lacemaking is a traditional practice which has been embedded into the social and economic history of countries worldwide for generations. Yet lace is still used as a source of inspiration by contemporary makers who continue to innovate and progress our understanding of what lace is and what lace is considered to be. The Space Between will explore these ambiguities.

Andrea says… “I began tatting because I had seen it discussed in some old handicrafts books and I was intrigued by the process; seduced by its delicate fineness of line. I later discovered that my grandmother was an avid tatter. I began to see tatting as drawing in space with thread and knots and I questioned why tatting is, seen as a fussy, handicraft from a bygone era? Why has it, as (often) anonymous “women’s work”, become so undervalued, so unappreciated? My explorations have primarily led me to investigate three-dimensional forms in tatting. I am particularly intrigued by the underlying mathematical order found in nature, especially among corals and marine invertebrates. Although my work is improvisational, I have used these types of repeating patterns, hyperbolic geometry and logarithmic scales, as a foundation to “grow” forms out of a predictable order. I feel that tatting is experiencing something of a renaissance, brought back from the brink of extinction by the Internet, which has facilitated connection and sharing of patterns and techniques on a global scale. But, despite this renewed interest, tatting remains an under-recognized technique, and still labors under the heavy weight of its cultural reference of old ladies making useless domestic bric-a-brac. However, I feel that the time is ripe for expansion both technically and conceptually; for pushing boundaries and exploring new, uncharted territories across the entire map of tatting possibilities.

Barbara Morris reviews Accretion/Erosion

Charlie Milgrim presents Accretion/Erosion at Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery.

Milgrim, who references her longstanding body of installation work with a single, elegant tripod-mounted bowling ball, has in recent years begun exploring new media, particularly digital photography. Her beguiling images may suggest biological or chemical processes, but are in fact the result of digital manipulations of mundane photos, taken by the artist, of the residue of paint on a sink (accretion) or the abraded surface of an aging floor (erosion). Her keen eye and sharp wit combine to create a collection of images that draw the viewer into a mysterious realm, the ethereal accretions balanced by the earthier erosions. Through May 4.

— Barbara Morris

Ruth Tabancay at SJ Museum of Quilt & Textiles, Root Division, Shoh Gallery

Ruth Tabancay is exhibiting in 3 group exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area: at the International TECHstyle Biennial IV, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, through April 14; Feast for Eyes, at Root Division, San Francisco, April 3-19; and Material of Form, Shoh Gallery, Berkeley, April 11-May 11

Julianne Sterling Semi-finalist for National Portrait Gallery Competition

Julianne Sterling’s painting “Specialist Murphy” has been selected from 2,675 entries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the semifinalist round of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, 2019.

Elizabeth Sher at Codex VII and Kim Cole

Elizabeth Sher was selected to exhibit her artist books at the Codex Foundation’s 7th Biennial Book Fair, February, 2019, in Richmond, California. A solo show Spring Comes Every Year will be at Kim Cole, 222 Broadway St. #101, Oakland, though April 30th

Neo Serafimidis at Gray Loft Gallery and Element 79

Neo Serafimidis is showing “Blue Seville” (above) at Gray Loft Gallery, Oakland, in their annual photo show. Through March 23.

His photographs are featured at Element 79 Gallery, a public art exhibition space at Shattuck and Cedar Avenues, in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Through March 9.

Leah Virsik at Marin MOCA, Feather River Art Camp

Leah Virsik is exhibiting in Marin MOCA’s 10th Annual Altered Book Exhibit and Fundraiser, April 27 – June 1, 2019, Opening Reception: April 27, 5-7pm, Live Auction and Closing Party: June 1, 5-8pm

Leah is teaching at Feather River Art Camp this June 9–16. Her class is titled Exploring Material and Metaphor in the Artist Book. Early registration discount ends March 9. Sign up at Feather River Art Camp

Mary Curtis Ratcliff at Berkeley Civic Center

Mary Curtis Ratcliff was selected for the Civic Center Art Exhibition 2019/2020, Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Building, Berkeley. Each year the City of Berkeley celebrates the richness of artistic production within the Berkeley community with the Civic Center Art Exhibition. This exhibition offers visitors to the Civic Center building an opportunity to see the diversity and richness of the visual arts being produced by artists of all ages and stages in their artistic careers who either live or work in Berkeley.

Sarah Lisch Inaugurates New Gallery in Berkeley

Mercury 20 artist Sara Lisch has inaugurated a new street-level art gallery, Element 79, at the corner of Shattuck and Cedar in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley, California. Sara noticed three unused display boxes on that well-traveled corner and visualized them being filled with exhibitions by local artists. After renovation, a new art venue was born!

Lisch says, “We hope to support artists, engage the public, spark curiosity, beautify the street and show some really cool art.”

Fernando Reyes at Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery

An exhibition of the work of Fernando Reyes opens in April at Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette, featuring new abstract handprinted paper cutouts on panel. Fernando creates one of a kind monoprints with interesting designs and patterns, cuts them and reconstructs them into colorful abstract works. Fernando will be showing with abstract collage artist Ray Beldner.  3620 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, California, April 11 – May 11, Artist reception April 11 6-8pm.

Fernando was also accepted into stARTup Art Fair San Francisco, April 26-28th.

Pantea Karimi at Minnesota Street Projects

Pantea Karimi’s installation, Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory (2017-2019) is included in the exhibition Once at Present, an exhibition of contemporary Iranian diaspora art from the Bay Area, on view March 29 – April 30 at the Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco.

Curated by Kevin B. Chen and Taraneh Hemami
Reception: Saturday March 30: 6 – 9 pm

Johanna Poethig Performs with Chris Brown in Germany and Completes Mosaic Commission for City of Oakland

Johanna Poethig recently presented and performed with composer Chris Brown at the Atelier Siegele in Darmstadt, Germany. They showed their video “Music of the Lost Cities” and did an electronic music and performative reading of the High Stakes Divination Cards.

Johanna recently completed a 9′ x 65′ glass mosaic commissioned by the City of Oakland Public Art Program at Rainbow Recreation Center on International Blvd. which will be dedicated this spring.