Art Galleries

Kathy King and Julie Alvarado

When: Aug. 8-30 2008

According to modernist aesthetic theory, art aspires to the condition of music (i.e., self-sufficiency), but these days we see art impurely as contingent, complex, and rooted in reality. Both interpretations are valid, of course, as is seen in this visual duet at Mercury 20. Kathy King's abstract paintings are modernist in their aspirations, despite their humorous, punning titles (e.g., "Gold Mind #8"). Blending improvised "tangled line, eccentric shape, calligraphic gesture, and emotional color," King creates complex pictorial spaces that marry wholeness and fragmentation, geometric abstraction and abstract expressionism. Julie Alvarado takes a comical, postmodern view in her cheerfully absurd postcard-inspired paintings of surfers ("Waikiki Waltz"), bathing beauties, doughnut stands, and other scenes of Americana -- invaded by accordionists. Herself a devotee, she relishes the "Weird Al" image Americans have for the squeezebox: a pink-wigged performer lies prone beneath desert vultures; atop a pinnacle, an aerophonist serenades the cosmos. Through August 30 at Mercury 20 (25 Grand Ave.,Oakland).510-701-4620.

DeWitt Cheng

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