In the Galleries 

Our critics review local visual arts exhibitions.

Three Dimensions/Eight Sculptors — The relatively new co-op gallery Mercury 20 is hosting its first guest show, featuring artists who are not in the co-op. It is a cohesive, beautiful show. The majority of the works play with a kind of trompe d'oeil of materials — plaster shaped to look like marshmallows (Chandra Cerrito's "Marshmallow Still Life"), ceramic curved and cracked like bone (Shelby Smith's "Prop"), citrus rinds dried to the texture of leather (Robert Armstrong's "toiles de Mer"), and leather rusted to the consistency of old iron (Kelly Steinauer's "Vertebrae," "Intestines," and "Inhabit/Inhibit Heart"). Especially graceful is Diane Romaine's "Line" and "Sticks," two wall sculpture pieces consisting of thin black lines curving out from the white gallery wall. This is an excellently curated show, and hopefully a harbinger of more to come. (Through January 27 at 25 Grand Ave., Oakland; MercuryTwenty.com)

Works of Fiction — Chris Lane is showing a collection of "illustrations" at the Mama Buzz Gallery. He's quite insistent that they are illustrations as opposed to any other kind of artistic endeavor. As he says in his quasimanifesto, illustration, although its reputation is withering, is "a key to the imagination." The pieces are often dreamlike — or nightmarish: reminiscent of a recognizable reality, but with a bit of often-violent incongruity. The works include a number of severed or deeply sliced limbs, but the victims who gaze out at the viewer appear thoroughly nonplussed. The focal diptych — "That Which Undoes Part 1" and "That Which Undoes Part 2" — features two portraits, one floating a severed heart above her hands while a swarm of tongue-pink balloonlike objects spill from her bloodied mouth and into the ear of her neighbor, the portrait of "... Part 2." "William Elliot Whitmore," which could be an homage to New Orleans, shows us a banjo-strumming figure floating on a coffin, surrounded by hungry crows and gray skies. (Through January 28 at 2316 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; MamaBuzzCafe.com or 510-465-4073)

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  • In the Galleries

    Our critics review local visual arts exhibitions.
    • Sep 5, 2007
  • In the Galleries

    Our critics review local visual arts exhibitions.
    • Aug 29, 2007
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