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BACK ROOM: October 1-November 27, 2021

Jill McLennan: Migration

Oct. 1 – Nov. 27, 2021

For Migration, Jill McLennan has created a set of prints of animals and humans migrating in unusual circumstances. The first print was inspired by the story of a child soldier from Yemen who escaped to North Africa on a rowboat with a cow. The tale led McLennan to a deeper investigation of animals being transported and used as transportation. McLennan’s work looks towards a future where humans and animals live in balance.

Cathy Perillo: Plein-Air Painting

Oct. 1 – Nov. 27, 2021

Mercury 20 is pleased to present the work of guest artist, Cathy Perillo, a plein-air painter producing small gouache and oil paintings directly from her experience in the landscape. Perillo’s show Plein-Air Paintings includes a new series of oils painted this summer while visiting Acadia National Park. The view depicts Cadillac Mountain across Frenchman’s Bay in Sullivan, Maine.

Cathy Perillo works from her studio in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters’ Point Shipyard, where she creates expressionist works based on her outdoor sketches. Perillo received her BFA from Boston University and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work is held in collections in the U.S., Switzerland and Germany.

Leah Virsik: Intimate Connections

Oct. 1 – Nov. 27, 2021

To create Intimate Connections, a new series of wall-hanging sculptures, Leah Virsik worked with standard sheets of paper that she treated with konnyaku starch to make momigami, or kneaded paper. Traditionally used in Japan to make clothing, this process makes the paper stronger and more durable; more like cloth. Virsik then cuts it into strips and forms it into chains. These sculptures demonstrate new, lasting, intimate connections.

25% of the proceeds from the sale of this work will go to the Freedom Fund for Rahsaan “New York” Thomas to raise legal funds to assist him in fighting for his freedom after over 20 years of incarceration at San Quentin State Prison.

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Leah Virsik

Leah Virsik is an Oakland-based visual artist whose work is primarily driven by materials and includes collage, sculptural fiber, and book arts. She has a BS in Marketing from California State University, East Bay and a MFA in Art from San
Francisco State University. Her work has been exhibited at Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland; Incline Gallery, SOMArts, and the City College of San Francisco Art Gallery in San Francisco; and galleryFritz in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among others. She is a recipient of a San Francisco State/Kala Art Institute MFA Fellowship (2014), Leo D. Stillwell Jr. Scholarship (2015), Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship (2015), and a Sher-Right Scholarship (2016). Virsik gave her work away for free as an Artist-in-Residence at Free Oakland UP (2017). Leah teaches art to middle school and high school students and book arts at Feather River Art Camp. She also does freelance book design.


Jill McLennan

Jill McLennan is a professional painter and teaching artist who has been living in Oakland for 22 years. She works for the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. She is an active member in her neighborhood, Jingletown, creating and organizing public art and beautification projects; and has her studio at Jingletown Art Studios. She is currently working on a large-scale public art project with the city of Emeryville. As an artist and teacher, she is deeply invested in protecting her environment, inspiring youth, and spreading hope and joy into the world.

Mercury 20 Gallery

475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612
Tel: 510-701-4620

Gallery hours: Friday + Saturday: 12-5pm and by appt