When: July 5-Aug. 17 2013
Stepping into Space, a thematic group show now at Studio Quercus (385 26th St., Oakland), feels a little — or rather, a lot — like entering the garage of a retro sci-fi fanatic. A motorized rocket circles above your head, while an alien wielding a menacing probe greets you on the ground. But this is an art exhibition, not a collector’s emporium (though Susan Casentini does dig up a series of vintage, ultra-low budget sci-fi shorts from her personal collection), and the objects on display are artifacts of the artists’ own making: mostly humorous homages to the campy, antiquated genre. Gael Fitzmaurice’s “Blending In: The Rehearsal” features a group of aliens preparing to infiltrate middle-class American society. Walter Robinson’s meteorite sculpture looks like a comic book doodle endowed with volume — a subtly absurd gesture typical of the artist’s wry practice. Most of the pieces are laughs. Sam Vaughn’s “Study for a Portrait of Neil Armstrong,” however, depicting the blue-eyed astronaut’s doughy head twisting out of the cavity of a space suit, delivers a definite chill.