Originally, Dreamtime referred to Australian aborigines' notion of Creation: the descent of totemic beings from spiritual realms into plants, animals, and humans tasked with maintaining the cosmos through ritual song, dance, and art. East Bay photographers Aimée Friberg and Tabitha Soren explore a contemporary vision of art as dream with their fragmentary, softly focused views of poetic subject matter: cinematic images that hint at mysterious narratives à la Cindy Sherman and Ralph Gibson. Friberg's views of water and trees ("This Autumn I Swam"), foggy landscapes, horse's haunches ("The New Young"), and decollated factory worker ("Shipyard February [From Lost Film Stills]"), and Soren's nocturnes, either unpopulated ("You Come to Mind") or featuring enigmatic activities ("You Call That Dark?"), posit a universe that is radiantly beautiful even if no spiritual authority spills the esoteric beans for us. Dreamtime runs through April 1 at Branch Gallery (480 23rd St., Oakland). 415-577-7537 or Branch.Bayvan.org.