Art Galleries

Material Evidence

When: Feb. 6-March 16 2008

After Marcel Duchamp disparaged the merely "retinal" enjoyment of painting, and even the very odor of the turpentine, many artists looked askance at pictorial sensuousness and a love of materials, rather like puritan church fathers ashamed of having bodies and urges. This sort of iconoclasm is emphatically not operant with the mixed-media paintings of Peter Boyer and the plasma light sculptures of Ed Kirshner at The the FloatCenter. Boyer's powerful abstractions in black, white, and ocher join calligraphic gesture, textural contrast, and collaged cutouts. Intuitively adding and subtracting materials until the elements cohere into a "presence," Boyer exploits the accidents that inevitably occur: "I want the paintings to be these objects of contemplation through this wrestling process that I go through with them." Ed Kirchner's Kirshner's elegantly engineered glass vessels, with their dazzling, phosphorescent light discharges (inspired by the aurora borealis), are clearly the product of another type of problem-solving, albeit one conditioned by scientific principles and incessant experimentation. Kirshner, who decided to become an artist in his fifties, explains his lambent alembics, transcendent marriages of art and science: "I strive for a formal simplicity ... using finely balanced, responsive, self-organizing plasma that seems to take on a life of its own." Material Evidence runs Tthrough March 16 at The the FloatCenter (1091 Calcot Place, #116, Oakland). or 510-535-1702.

DeWitt Cheng

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