This year's edition of Pro Arts' juried annual features 33 artworks selected by independent curator Paola Santoscoy, who has worked on projects in Mexico City (where she lives), Berlin, Geneva, and Buenos Aires. In July, the California College of the Arts graduate served as lead curator for a 26-artist exhibition entitled The Nature of Things at Denver's 35-nation Biennial of the Americas. On view here in Oakland are works in traditional media, as well as installation and social practice, by, coincidentally, 26 artists.
The nature of this show is diverse, of course, ranging from relatively straightforward naturalism (Ace Lehner's triple portrait, "100 Percent Triptych"; Jerome Szymczk's photo, "Twins;" and Cesar Valdez's equitation-themed oil, "Unlikely Victor") to social comment/humor (Lauren Bartone's painting of a decrepit billboard, "Three Million Dollars"; Jessica Cadkin's upholstered, un-holstered "Confederate Civil War Weapons"; Martha Chong's collaged "Newspaper Stories: The Funeral Party"; Pablo Cristi's porcelain sculpture of seemingly gilded burritos, "California Gold," and his painting, "Fears of a White Planet"; Giles Goodhead's photomosaics, "Prayer" and "Hands Aloft"; Rebecca Haines' surreally altered LP cover, "Incognito"; Lehner's eccentric photo, "K.i.s.s.i.n.g.," and photo-based couples drawing, "Hairlove"; Bill Lo's pro-labor photocollage, "Union Flyer"; Masako Miki's wry painting, "If I Had Known What I Know Now"; and Julianne Sterling's self-deprecating oil, "The Mommy Assassins VI"). Then there are works of abstraction (Emanuela Iuliana Harris-Sintamarian's panoramic "Panta Rei"; Julia Goodman's tattered posters in "Eleven Months Later"; and Dennis Mcleod's cross-hatched "Red Fracture") and works based on conceptual practice (Steven Barich's computer-text-covered silhouettes, "Keeping Track of It All"; Olaitan Callender-Scott's enigmatic fetish object, "Boxed Memory IV"; Kate Moore's portraits with text, "Ferdinand," "Gertrude," and "Nellie"; Jennifer Maria Harris' photos of spine-stiffening signs posted in various locations, "Fear Not Project"; Anna Ludwig's eighty projected watercolors on slides, "People's Park Carousel"; Camilla Newhagen's stuffed men's suit, "Weight"; Christopher Picon's untitled photos of a scarified nude and a burning car; Ehren Reed's hybrid drawing/weaving, "Consolidation"; Susan Sanford's painting-altered photo, "Moment of Truth"; and Sam Reese Sheppard's comic/poignant placard, "Mother"). Something for everyone! Ludwig's Carousel tray of carousel-themed slides was curiously involving, suggesting rotoscoped animation (as in Richard Linklater's Waking Life) and William Kentridge's films of drawn/erased charcoals; perhaps it was misguided nostalgia for the pre-jpeg era. An artist talk is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, at 6 p.m. Juried Annual runs through January 14 at Pro Arts Gallery (150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland). 510-763-4361 or ProArtsGallery.org