Art Galleries

The Charmers

When: March 12-April 24 2011

Charmers, traditional wooden fishing lures that are painted to resemble delectable small fish and minnows, are a subject of fascination for Christopher Romer of Berkeley, who has made scores of them over the past decade from recycled "old baseball bats, chair and table legs, ceiling joists, beams, posts, doors, windows, and pallets," according to the gallery press release. Lathe-turned, sanded to reveal various paint/grain patterns, studded with metal tacks and screws, and as streamlined as Brancusi sculptures, hundreds of these faux fish swarm throughout the gallery, their wall locations having been determined by semi-aleatory dart throws. Romer writes that they symbolize "the all-pervasive pounding down of life, the harshness of the elements, and the passage of time." Rains of fish also come to mind, as do bombs, birds, and human figurines. Charmers runs through April 24 (artist talk at 3 p.m.) at Compound Gallery (1167 65th St., Oakland). 510-817-4042 or

DeWitt Cheng

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