"Promise and Peril: A Study in Biodiversity"

When: Feb. 7-May 8 2013

Isabella Kirkland and Jeffrey Long are both fine candidates for the David Brower Center's ecologically focused exhibition program. In Promise and Peril: A Study in Biodiversity, each contributes large-scale works that bring awareness to endangered fauna and the importance of environmental stewardship. The look of their respective canvases, however, is quite different. Kirkland's oil paintings of tropical forests and other such biodiverse zones are positively brimming with creatures, some extinct, some newly discovered. The loaded canvases function not as realistic depictions but as super-zealous taxonomic diagrams of sorts. Jeffrey Long's works in watercolor, gouache, and ink, meanwhile, depict dramatic scenes of animals struggling within a net of human activities: a mountain lion tackles its prey just beyond a commercial development; lost California condors bearing tracking numbers regroup at the Mexico border. The paintings are resonantly political and, in their epic narrative qualities, almost seem to fit in the tradition of European history painting. Promise and Peril: A Study in Biodiversity runs through May 8 in the Hazel Wolf Gallery at the David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley). 510-809-0900 or BrowerCenter.org

Alex Bigman

Price: free

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