The takeaway of Terry Furry’s work is aptly cradled within the oxymoronic title of his current solo show, Vulnerable Gods. The show is now on view at LuckyLo (previously Loakal, 560 2nd St., Oakland) as the space’s last show before it transitions into a full boutique. His large-scale oil paintings aim to intimately dismantle the contradiction between power and vulnerability, particularly in the context of masculinity. Furry (previously an Express employee) reimagines Greek mythology to approach the topic, depicting characters such as Narcissus, Icarus, Orpheus, and Adonis (the god of beauty) as sensitive, emotional, nude figures. Furry’s painting style is photorealistic but posterized, intentionally employing a limited gradation of tones with definition between each color. The technique produces figures that are sensual and relatable, yet subtly abstracted, maintaining a protective distance. Rendered that way, his subjects — who hold symbolically potent props such as crutches and electric guitars — form an impressive series of portraits that infuse sensitivity with power.
Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s 1955 piece “Bed,” New Bed at Krowswork Gallery (480 23rd St., Oakland) explores the symbol as a nest woven from the intersection of identities — highly personal, yet sometimes shared. Through the work of five artists creating in various disciplines, including combinations of sculpture, video, photography, and installation, the bed emerges as a cultural trope infused with historical residue ready to be personalized. In Roderick Kiracofe’s immersive installation, the viewer enters a dark room draped in historical quilts. Housed within the womb-like alcove are a table and chairs and an intimate video loop (made in collaboration with Jason Hanasik) featuring Kiracofe’s life partner, Jack. Within this work, the bed is deconstructed into its defining elements of intimacy, rest, comfort, and shared privacy. In another installation, Nicole Shaffer literally deconstructed the bed that she shared during a past marriage. She tore, stained, wrote on, and embroidered the sheets, cutting open the mattress to form a deep hole housing flowers, crystals, and a stuffed cat sculpture. Shaffer then took the bed into the Orinda hills for a three-day performance of catharsis and renewal that was documented by photographer Gina Cholik and video artist Anne Klint. Shaffer’s piece embodies the potential of the bed as a symbol of identity and personal narrative available to be reworked to form a new emotional resting place. New Bed also features a video by Sanford Biggers and work by artist duo Karen and Malik Seneferu.