Category: Press

Artist Pantea Karimi in the SF Weekly

 

“The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics” is a reconstruction of Pantea Karimi’s school life in Iran during the late 1980s. (Photo: Jonathan Curiel)

Black & White

Pantea Karimi’s exhibit at Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery, “The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics,” is a reconstruction of her school life in Iran during the late 1980s, when she struggled with the pressures of science education and struggled with the school administration’s attempts to root out her growing, teenage interest in the music of Madonna and Michael Jackson. A clash was inevitable, and Karimi, who now lives in San Jose, tells visitors how it ended through a sequence of 10 mock blackboards with mathematical formulas that gradually get more cloudy — with the final board almost completely shrouded in a chalky fog.
Iran’s 1979 revolution ushered in strict religious standards, so the Persian wording for “In the Name of God” shouts from each of the 10 blackboards. The first blackboard features a copy of Isaac Newton’s mathematical handwriting alongside Karimi’s Persian handwriting, which she uses to express her concerns about studying math and taking exams. Halfway through the 10 blackboards, two clouded photos of Iran’s religious leaders oversee the blackboards and a trove of Karimi’s personal objects from that time, such as Reebok sneakers and cassette tapes of U.S. pop stars.
The blackboards’ interplay of cloudy chalk, Persian lettering, and math formulas — and their sequential morphing from clearly visible to almost nothingness — is a kind of visual existentialism. This aspect of the work is underscored by the dark boards’ setting: a cavernous, white-walled space.
More than a decade ago, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel and accompanying film, Persepolis, made the world smile and cringe at her former life in Iran, including her student life. “The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics” produces a similar effect — only this time, we’re asked to physically stand in a place that mirrors what Karimi felt three decades ago. The mirror gets fuzzy in places. But even hazy images produce meanings that are crystal clear.

“The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics”
Free, Through Oct. 17
Mercury 20 Gallery, 475 25th St., Oakland
mercurytwenty.com

New Members at Mercury 20

 

Christine at her exhibit Aug 2020
Christine Meuris joined Mercury 20 Gallery in October 2019. In her recent work, Christine focuses on translating traditional home based arts executed in fabric and fiber into works on paper. In so doing she distills the elements of pattern, color, geometry and symmetry. The intent of this work is to shed a light on and to consider the power of humble things in a time of political upheaval: the pattern behind the needlepoint; the power a line segment not even half and inch long; and the meditative practice of hours spent painting that line segment over and over again.

Christine’s series Biomorphic Bargello (2018-19) is inspired by Bargello needlepoint patterns, which are built by repeating and offsetting a line segment.  These works recall the minimalist movement but are based in the warmth of the decorative arts.

Christine Meuris lives and works in Berkeley, California. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has participated in juried shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the country and has been invited to participate in groups shows at the Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley Civic Center, The Mosser Hotel, Berkeley Wealth Management and the Roll Up Gallery. She has also had solo shows at Farley’s Café, Hello Stitch Quilting and Sewing Studio, and The Totally Rad Gallery.

 

Andrea installing her window exhibit July 2020
Andrea Brewster joined the gallery in January 2020. Her past work includes mixed media sculpture, drawings, digital media, and fiber sculptures. Her work is often comprised of otherworldly, organic, abstractions, which reference biological life and species. She has been particularly intrigued by the mathematical order underlying growth patterns and often utilizes similar algorithmic systems of repetition to create a predictable order of undulating waves and ripples or packed cell structures.

“I am excited to become a part of the Mercury 20 family and embrace the idea of creating a mutually supportive arts community that benefits both artists/members and patrons; an inclusive space for sharing and exchanging ideas. I highly value that Mercury 20 is providing a means for personal and professional development for artists, while promoting innovative art that can reach a broad audience.”

Andrea has a B.A. in Sculpture from Pomona College, Claremont, CA and an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in New Genres. She was also fortunate to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant for Works on Paper.  Andrea has exhibited her work throughout the Bay Area, including solo shows at the Lab, and Southern Exposure and in group shows at Chandra Cerrito Gallery, the Lacis Museum of Lace, The Oakland Museum of California, New Langton Arts, and the Peninsula Museum.

 

Tara with painting Purple and Green
Tara Esperanza joined Mercury 20 in May 2020. She is our newest member and she will be showing along side Andrea Brewster and Fernando Reyes October 22nd through November 28th 2020 at the gallery. Tara lives and works in Oakland California. She is currently working on a series of large paintings of succulents. She is interested in the plant personalities. The abundant varieties of texture, color, shape, and how succulents change with the seasons. Tara’s paintings look deep into the plants. She celebrates their diversity. How succulents share space, lean on each other, or hold each other up. They have so much character and Tara aims to bring the viewer in to offer a new perspective and her intimate viewpoint of succulents through her art.

Tara has a B.A. in Painting from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She has exhibited her paintings in galleries throughout the Bay Area, including Orangeland Gallery in S.F., Sanchez Contemporary Gallery in Oakland,  Marin Society of Artists in San Rafael, and Sun Gallery in Hayward. As well as Sturt Haaga Gallery in Los Angeles, Light Space and Time Gallery in Palm Springs, and the Museum of Northern California Art in Chico CA.

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


Johanna Poethig project featured in Art Practical

Johanna Poethig’s installation and curatorial project  Songs for Women Living With War is featured in Art Practical’s special issue “Art Can’t Do Anything If We Don’t.”  The article titled Teaching and Talking about Art and Performance in Unprecedented Times is written by Thea Quiray Tagle and is, in the writer’s words “a mini manifesto about the kinds of art I think matters especially in these times.”

Art Practical feaure

Art Practical issue