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Review of Compounding in the East Bay Express (July 2010)

The Compound’s Workers’ Paradise

Resident artists of the Oakland gallery put on a show.

By DeWitt Cheng

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Detail of Alison Offill-Klein’s “The Sickness.”

In a group show entitled Compounding, the artists sharing private and communal studio facilities at the newly expanded Compound Gallery exhibit paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and mixed-media works. These elude thematic categorization, but share stylistic elements that define the current Zeitgeist: small scale, humble or even scavenged materials, traditional craft processes not generally associated with fine art, a hint of narrative, and an ironic, self-deprecating humor. Everything exhibited in Compounding was made on-site, in the large work room behind the gallery, so anyone seeking subtexts, back-stories, and origin myths (i.e., most of us, to a certain extent) will have fun peeking backstage. What’s onstage in the gallery, however, is what’s relevant here. The artists include: Julian Birchman, Takehito Etani, Faye Kendall, Annie Frykholm, Alissa Goss, Norakiera Heiser, Ryan McJunkin, Crystal Morey, Dominic Nguyen, Kerri Lee Johnson, Jaime Lakatos, Sophie Leininger, Jeanne Lorenz, Jocelyn Meggait, Michelle Morby, Alison Offill-Klein, Marie Reich, Lena Verderano Reynoso, Matt Reynoso, Kelsey Robinson, Eric Sanchez, David Spiher, and Tallulah Terryll.

Their figurative or representational works include, in no particular order, Offill-Klein’s masked-subject watercolors (“Mummies,” “The Sickness”); Robinson’s screenprints abstracting natural forms (“Shell Baked by the Sun”); Johnson’s nautical-themed drawings on wooden plaques (“Fanny,” “Anchor,” Sailor Boy”); Lakatos’ mixed-media studies of deer, living and dead (“Chaos Theory II,” “Hung Out to Dry”); Birchman’s cut-felt cartoon figures (“Gloating,” “Butcher”); Morey’s droll ceramic female nudes (“Log Burial,” “Water Burial Part II”); Leininger’s graphite studies of boats and ships (“Drifting,” “Family”); Lorenz’s woodcut-like oil painting of a volcanic plume (“Under the Ground It’s Already Burning”); McJunkin’s female nude by the seashore (“Endless Summer”); Verderano Reynoso’s enigmatic history painting (“President Arthur’s Anticipation”); and Spiher’s roundish-format acrylic painting of backyard miscellanea (“Kayaks”).

More abstract or conceptual in approach are Frykholm’s paper/porcelain-slip doily (“For My Grandmother”); Goss’ ceramics of ambiguous identity (“Centipede,” “Satellite”); Heiser’s untitled micro-macro organic abstractions in distemper on paper; Kendall’s found-object fetishes/idols (“Like Swimming,” “Poppy”); Reynoso’s wooden polygons (“Black Dodecahedron,” “5 White Octahedrons”); Terryll’s process-based abstractions (“Adeline,” “Golden Yarrow”); Meggait’s installation of ceramic beads strung into a curtain (“Obsessive Recluse and 83 Bottles of Wine”); and Etani’s deconstructed tabloid cover, its celebrity catfight participants reduced to eyes peering out from ghostly white burqas through a veil of mock-shocked teaser prose (“Stars Gazing”). Compounding runs through August 8 at The Compound (1167 65th St., Oakland). 510-817-4042 or TheCompoundGallery.com.

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