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What Are We Looking For In Art?

, Sat., May 23, 4-7 p.m.
505-690-6400
What Are We Looking For In Art?
Current artists at Marc 49 lead a discussion about viewing art. Free
Marc 49 4915 Telegraph Ave., Oakland (map)

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Trigger Triumphal Terminus

, Through May 29, 5-9 p.m.
510-697-0089
Trigger Triumphal Terminus
A solo show by Toshia Christal. Free
Black Spring Coffee Company 2930 Telegraph Ave., Oakland (map)

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Drifting Forest: A GATS Solo Show

Through May 30
Drifting Forest: A GATS Solo Show
GATS is known to many as a floating face, with jaded, droopy eyes and a long, dreaded beard. The iconic mask he paints is ubiquitous in the streets of the East Bay, and can be found on walls all over the world as well. On May 9, the enigmatic graffiti artist’s work will also be on view at Hashimoto Contemporary (804 Sutter St., San Francisco) for his first solo show — Drifting Forest — in the gallery. Partially, the title of the show comes from the fact that GATS did most of the paintings included on found driftwood. More than an aesthetic choice, the material of GATS’ panels and wooden sculptures are a testament to the deterioration of nature. “These skeletons of the forest are sacred as I mourn in the graveyard that is urban sprawl,” he wrote in an email interview. Although GATS’ work is mainly found on city walls, this is a rare chance to see the artist’s potential when given more time and material options. In his new works, he abstracts recognizable features of the mask he paints, and rearranges them to form new compositions while staying true to the visual language he has developed. There will undoubtedly be a line around the block for the opening of the show on May 9 from 6–10 p.m. Look for the full interview with GATS in next week’s Express. Free
Hashimoto Contemporary 804 Sutter Street, San Francisco (map)

Terra Incognita

Through May 31
510-430-2164
Terra Incognita
Terra Incognita is the Latin expression for “uncharted territory.” The Mills College MFA show, currently on view at the Mills College Art Museum (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland), takes that title, although its not startlingly novel. It does, however, veer all over the map to form a quality collection of works from emerging artists. The work of Malena Lopez-Maggi kept my attention the longest. Manipulating various media, she elaborates on whimsicality and the affective quality of textures like fur, silicon, and mineral. In one central sculpture, transparent rods support a wooden staircase of flattened, white clouds (similar to those in Super Mario), while a large mirror reflects the structure from below. On the conceptual end, Jess Smith’s work critiques online consumerism through fictional commercials, Amazon reviews, and products — such as a doggy chest carrier. The world she presents is eerily superficial, yet could be totally real. Less absurd, the work of Jackie Farkas brings to light the tactile convergences of painting and photography, by brushing chemicals onto photo paper and placing the developed products next to abstract oil and acrylic paintings of a related style and palette. Altogether, the work is well executed and worth a look. Free
Mills College Art Museum 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland (map)

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Almost ( ) is, Teresa Baker and Jaimie Healy

Wednesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through May 31
415-990-8028
Almost (     ) is, Teresa Baker and Jaimie Healy
Merging sculpture and painting in inventive ways, Baker and Healy create works that express a potent space between formlessness and form. This exhibition presents a combination of the artists’ paintings and objects in conversation with one another. free
Interface Gallery 486 49th St., Oakland (map)

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Mexica Visions

Through May 31
510-842-3620
Mexica Visions
Chamuco Cortez and Drew Flores reinterpret Mexico’s ancient imagery. Each use Aztec and Chicano iconic elements daily in their work as tattoo artists. Opening reception on April 11, 7-11 p.m., includes Danza Aztcea Cuauhtonal, spoken word and local food. Free
Amor Eterno Tattoo and Art Space 1227 18th Ave., Oakland (map)

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Ven Voisey: i think it's a sign &/or the light is beautiful

Fri., June 5, 6-9 p.m.
530.848.9393
Ven Voisey: i think it's a sign &/or the light is beautiful
Ven Voisey's "I think it's a sign &/or the light is beautiful" is an installation of stained glass constructions built to obscure neon beer signs, smoke, mirrors, abstracted and reflected light, and a sound & video performance with footage culled from meditation walks in big box stores. Free
Shadow Office 308 15th Street, Oakland (map)

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The Dissidents, the Displaced, and the Outliers

Through June 5
510-415-8791
The Dissidents, the Displaced, and the Outliers
The Bay Area Society for Art & Activism presents a group exhibit about housing security and digital privacy. EFF Digital Privacy Workshop on May 23, 2-4 p.m. Free
Random Parts 1206 13th Ave., Oakland (map)

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BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art

Through June 21
925-295-1417
BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art
Although large inflatables are typically confined to children’s birthday parties and used car lots, Bedford Gallery (1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek) is proving that the medium possesses artistic value beyond those realms. Its current show, Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art, features large-scale inflatable sculptures that use air to create 3D pop art statements. Those include a large white elephant by Billie G. Lynn, a 26-foot reclining Buddha by Lewis DeSoto, a life-sized Pontiac Firebird by car-obsessed conceptual artist Guy Overfelt, and Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds” — a room filled with super-reflective, silver-rectangular balloons that induce a feeling of weightlessness as they float around you. Some of the most eye-popping pieces are Claire Ashley’s non-figurative inflatables, which she spray paints with a rainbow palette, and Lee Boroson’s similarly whimsical plant-like abstractions. But Momoyo Torimitsu steals the show with her massive pink bunnies entitled “Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable.” At nearly sixteen feet tall, the shiny, grinning animals are squished under the gallery’s ceiling, necks bent toward the floor. The inclusion of that piece spins the entire show into a potential critique on pop culture aesthetics, or, perhaps, the inflated economy. However much thought you want to put into it, Blow Up will make for a fun visit. $3-$5
Bedford Gallery 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek (map)

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Alameda Summer Art Fair

Sun., June 21, 1-7 p.m.
415-580-2309
Alameda Summer Art Fair
Over 30 artist booths. Sculptors, painters, miniture world DIY stations, facepainting, printing press and more. Free
Studio 23 2309 Encinal Ave., Alameda (map)

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PIC Oakland

Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays, 12-4 p.m. Continues through June 28
(510) 629-1918
PIC Oakland
PIC Oakland is a photo contest created by Shift Local and Gondola Servizio. It was designed to promote Oakland (accepting only photographs taken in Oakland or from another city looking at Oakland). The top 10 finalists now have their photos included in a rotating exhibition at Oakland-based galleries in 2015. Free
Panorama Framing 3350 Grand Ave., Oakland (map)

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Material Data

Through July 4
510-444-9140
Material Data
As we become further inundated with computing, it has become increasingly fashionable for artists to juxtapose the digital aesthetic with the homey feel of folk art, often merging the two in some cutely incongruous way. For example, a cross-stitch of an “emoji” or an oil painting of a “selfie” would fall into this category. The works in Material Data, Samantha Bittman’s current solo show at Johansson Projects (2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), could be placed within that intersection as well. Upon closer inspection, though, they make a more interesting inquiry into the construction of imagery, and the emergence of patterns. Bittman designs and executes weave drafts on a basic floor loom, then spans them over stretcher bars to form a woven canvas. Then, she paints over the yarn work with bold patterns, treating each stitch as it were a pixel in a digital painting, only able to represent one solid swatch of color. The mostly two-toned maze-like compositions resemble both computer hardware chips and old-school optical illusions. Bittman highlights the materiality of weaving by abstracting it, but leaves a border of bare yarn around the painted area, or sometimes swatches throughout. In that way, she forms a pairing that still feels subtle and clever. free
Johansson Projects 2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland (map)

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Fremont Festival of the Arts

, Sat., Aug. 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
510-795-2244
Fremont Festival of the Arts
Over 700 artisan booths, three stages of music, games and activities for children, and gourmet specialties. Free
Downtown Fremont 39338 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont (map)

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Open Screening

, First Thursday of every month, 8-11 p.m.
415-824-3890
Open Screening
The Bay Area's only Open Screening! Filmmakers, bring your films (dvd, digital, film) to ATA on the first Thursday of each month or submit prior to programming@atasite.org. Enjoy a supportive community of filmmakers and see your work on the big screen! Free
Artists' Television Access 992 Valencia St., San Francisco (map)

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