There is currently a carved, wooden block inserted into the sidewalk in front of Random Parts (1206 13th Ave.), an experimental-leaning art gallery in Oakland's Eastlake district. If you press a piece of paper over the wood and rub it with graphite, a rough print of an old Ohlone village will appear. The piece is a reminder of what the Bay Area once looked like, before it was colonized and developed. The block is one portion of Doblar La Tierra, a show by Spanish artist Javier Arce. Arce is interested in the ambiguous distinction between space and place, and how notions of home and identity fit in between the two. Arce, who currently lives in Santander, Spain, recently returned to an old cabin in which he once lived, in the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. When he arrived, he found that the frame had loosened and pieces of wood had fallen off. He took a few of these pieces and brought them to Oakland with him for his residency. Now they are arranged on the floor of Random Parts, offering a foundation on which the viewer may build his or her own contemplation of the topic. The show has many layers, including a zine with text by Monica Carballas, which offers an insightful and poetic rumination on the work. Finding the meaning behind the works might not be easy, but the process of searching for it is the real fruit of the experience.Free
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