January 12th – February 10th, 2024
Artists’ Reception: January 13, 3 – 5 pm
Oakland Art Murmur / First Friday: February 2, 5 – 9 pm
The last four years have seen the world suspended in a near constant state of unending change—marked first by a global pandemic that shifted every major organizing system on earth (social, political, economic, etc.) and then followed by unrest, upheavals, regime changes, genocide, and war. As citizens, we have been indelibly shaped by these changes and are being constantly reconstituted within them in real time. It is unsurprising then that the theme of this inaugural open call would be “metamorphosis,” a process of transformation; one that changes shape, form, or context. In this way, metamorphosis is elemental to the current and, with hope, the future state of our world.
The works in this exhibition were selected based on their potential to imagine futures informed by the radical notion that not only is change possible, necessary, and inevitable but also the only hope we all have for collective survival. Metamorphosis is a provocation, meant to shift us and move us forward.
The artists featured in this exhibition work across a range of media and represent a vibrant diversity of thought, experience, and identity within the Bay Area arts ecosystem. While I have known or worked with a number of these artists before, an exciting number were new introductions. And each of these artists are actively shaping and reshaping the contemporary landscape of our community. While the increasingly sensationalist media representation of the Bay Area at large has created an image of fear, instability, a vacuity of creative expression, I hope this exhibition can serve as a reminder of the strength, vitality, and bold experimentation that still exist here, thanks in no small part to artist-run and artist-centered spaces like Mercury 20.
As none of us know how exactly the world will change next, let Metamorphosis allow us to question, challenge, and reimagine that which we have come or been forced to accept as fixed and to indulge in the belief that new worlds are possible. Transformation is coming, it is already here.
Juror, Elena Gross (she/they) is the Co-Executive Director of the Berkeley Art Center and an independent writer and culture critic living in Oakland, CA. She chose 44 artworks from 40 artists working in a wide range of media that address the theme of Metamorphosis.
Selected Artists: (scroll over for links to artist’s personal websites)
Jan Aiello, Caren Andrews, Hopi Breton, Sydney Brown, Tachiya Bryant, Sam Claude Carmel, Lynse Cooper, Rohan DaCosta, Tara Daly, Gericault De La Rose, Nancy Elliot, Marion Faymonville, Julia Feldman, Lindsey Filowitz , Jane Fisher, Jy Jimmie Gabiola, Gina Gaiser, Courtney Griffith, Jada Haynes, Ney Hoato, Charlotte Hauksdottir, Thad Higa, Kiana Honarmand, Rachel Katz, Bohdanna Kesala, Shirin Khalatbari, Alma Landeta, Natasha Loewy, Chetna Mehta, Duma Mock, Lisa Pettibone , Priyanka Rana, Mark Rosenthal, Alejandro Rubio, Maryam Safanasab, Ron Moultrie Saunders, Kim Smith, Sally Kristina Smith , Luther Thie, Gregory Thomas
Bohdanna Kesala was selected to exhibit in M20’s Back Room Gallery in August of 2024.