Like the post-Impressionists in Paris of the early 20th century, and the abstract expressionists of New York toward its middle, locale in the art world is often associated with style. Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, that little loft space above Mercury 20 (and yes, they are separate galleries), has decided to both acknowledge and challenge that assumption in "Duopolis." The eight artists participating in this show are divided between "Greater New York" and "Greater San Francisco." Is it a throw-down? A turf war? A geo-challenge? In fact, what has come out of this juxtaposition is a remarkably coherent show.
All the artists present explorations of texture and material, building up dimensions or minimizing weight, considering reflection, flatness, light against surfaces, the thickness of color. Macyn Bolt (NY) creates a boxy "dimensional" canvas, lined along the sides with fractured black-and-white photos of modernist architecture, the face of it covered in dripping red paint. Judith Foosaner's (SF) "Up the Down Side" is a perfect accompaniment — the long screen of her cut-up and reconfigured black acrylic strokes reads almost like Chinese calligraphy, but reverberates against Bolt's use of splintered modernist lines. The pairing gives both pieces added dimension.
Omar Chacón (NY) shows us what layering can do, building up his bright acrylics into multicolored strips or disks, then adhering them to his canvas. They build upon the picture plane like ribbons or candy. Laura Fayer (NY), on the other hand, removes everything extraneous. Her mint-green and blue canvases are traversed by two or three dotted and solid lines, nothing more than an idea of roads.
Thérèse Lahaie's (SF) "Tea Cups" dominates the space not due to its size, but its physics. Composed of three revolving etched and scratched mirrors, they throw light across the walls and the ceiling, sneaking up on you while you gaze at other works. Kana Tanaka (SF), however, takes a different approach to glass. Her tiny, breathtakingly delicate teardrops of sea-green and clear glass are almost invisible until you stand right before them, a rain shower in suspension. You can hear the breath before the tiny tinkling the drips will make when they finally fall. "Duopolis" runs through January 12 at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, 25 Grand Ave., upper level, Oakland. ChandraCerrito.com or 415-577-7537.
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