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.
Glass art can sometimes seem precious or redundant, focused on mastering a difficult technique rather than exploring an innovative concept. The current group show of glass art at Chandra Cerrito Gallery (480 23rd St., Oakland), Shattered, manages to be both technically and conceptually impressive. The show, which is in celebration of the annual Glass Art Society Conference held this year in San Jose, features glass artists from Northern California and beyond whose work transcends decorative vessels to play in the realm of contemporary fine art sculpture and installation. Cathy Cunningham-Little, for example, uses dichroic glass, which transmits one color of light and reflects its complementary color. By mounting large shards of this glass and an assortment of colored lights on the wall, Cunningham-Little creates dazzling light paintings with overlapping veils of color. Lynne-Rachel Altman’s work uses the fragility of the medium to speak to notions of separation anxiety and loss. Sintered glass pockets mounted on the wall in a vertical row drip ink into each other, ultimately staining the floor in a poetically emotive gesture. The show features a ten artists, each of whom urges the viewer to rethink the possibilities of glass art in his or her own way.
East Bayizing the international tradition by which neighbors meet and eat in the moonlight, the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St., Oakland) will hold its weekly night market on Friday: Off the Grid’s gourmet food trucks will offer artisanal local cuisine, with local beer and wine served in the Blue Oak beer garden. A Makers & Tasters discussion will bring together great minds in the brewing and gardening communities. Live music, dance lessons, a DJ, and an LGBT history tour of the museum help guests digest all that stout and kraut.
PredPol claims its software can map where future crimes are likely to occur and reduce crime by double digits. But critics, including some law enforcement officials, say there's no evidence that it works.
For years, Dan Borenstein, an influential columnist and editorial page writer for the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times, has claimed that public employee pensions are strangling local governments. The problem is: He's wrong.