Art Galleries

He-Charmers

When: Oct. 15-Dec. 4 2011

According to the theory of abjection, our narcissistic ego defends itself by rejecting threatening imagery. True or not, the term has an unpleasant connotation of passive victimhood that, these days, we should reject -- or accept only conditionally. Katherine Sherwood's new assemblages representing standing male figures ("Stevie," "Angelo," "Ali," "Green Jeans") are composed of stretched canvases and clothing swatches (notably pants), and appear ironic or abject: flat versions of Marisol's cubic/cubist Pop sculptures, perhaps. Deeper meanings emerge, however, as we parse their strange ingredients: collaged anatomical engravings and MRI scans, and cerebral angiograms replicated in paint. Sherwood, a pioneer in the disability-rights movement and an acclaimed artist-teacher, seems to be saying, Sure, we're all contingent, imperfect postmodernist meat; so what? Don't miss the cruciform church plan, "32 Ears," or the neural-network "Landscape." Artist talk on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. He-Charmers runs through Dec. 5 at Compound Gallery (1167 65th St., Oakland). 510-817-4042 or TheCompoundGallery.org

DeWitt Cheng

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