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Positional Vertigo

January, 2017

05 Poethig Wheel Of X 14
“Wheel of X” (2016) oil on wood, metal turning mechanism, brass arrow, 14”

In Positional Vertigo, Johanna Poethig’s new series of paintings, prints and magnetic cards are tea leaves in the human endeavor to find signs, interpret symbols, count the numbers, spin the wheel, read the cards while being sucked into the vortex of the epic struggle to find balance. Poethig’s work is a conversation between the personal and the political in the context of empire and the media spectacle that entangles our daily lives. In the carnival of our times we are trapped in the technologies of our own invention and lured into the razzle of the gamble, prediction and punditry. Fascinated by the unexpected overlap of the analytical and mystical arts of forecasting this body of work invites the viewer to turn the wheel, meditate in the vertigo of multiple positions, arrange the cards and consider the commentary.

In her 2015 exhibition at SOMArts Glamorgeddon: The Spectacle, Poethig explored how the social, political and mystical qualities of glamour have both colonized and empowered us. In her new exhibit, Positional Vertigo, Poethig experiments with visual concepts that question how we perceive the way images are positioned and ideas shaped in an environment spinning with mediated content and absurd choices.

Johanna Poethig is a studio, public, and performance artist who has exhibited internationally and has been creating public art works, murals, paintings, sculpture and installations for over 25 years. She explores surfaces, symbols and artifacts of culture, history, archeology and futurist narratives, human nature, political satire and the colonizing metaphors used by consumerist, capitalist marketing. Poethig works with other artists, performers, composers, architects, planners, curators and diverse communities on social and artistic interventions in our shared spaces. Poethig’s recent exhibits include Songs for Women Living With War at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland, the 80th Anniversary exhibit at Richmond Art Center, the EARTH residency at Krowswork in Oakland, “Glamorgeddon: The Spectacle” at SOMArts Gallery, Transi(en)t Manila, a site specific project that brought artists from all over Southeast Asia and Artisterium, the annual international contemporary art exhibition in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. She has exhibited at many galleries and museums of note. Currently, she is Lead Artist for a new 9 mile transit corridor of integrated public art in the Bay Area. Poethig received her MFA at Mills College and is a professor at the Visual and Public Art department at California State University, Monterey Bay. She grew up in the Philippines and lives in Oakland, California.

Jan 6: Reception and First Friday Art Murmur, 6-9 pm
Jan 19: Third Thursdays on 25th Street, 6-8 pm
Feb 4: Electronic Music Improvisations with Chris Brown, John Bischoff and Tim Perkis, 8 pm

Mercury 20 Gallery

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

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