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Mysteries of the Organism 

When: Jan. 2-Feb. 23 2014
Life’s strangeness may be contemplated at the biological and mythological levels, via lenses including the hypnotizing symmetry of cellular structures and the 1930s-era theory of Orgone energy, which posited that all life springs from the same ether-like substance. The latter inspired a film that gave its name to Mysteries of the Organism, a group show of four Oakland artists now on view at Panorama Framing (3350 Grand Ave., Oakland) that draws upon the literal function of life, as well as our blurry, human conception of it. The show reimagines the organism as microscopic machinery (in Melissa Bolger’s brightly hued drawings of nameless cellular bodies) and as interplay between reality and imagination (in Kelly Correll Brown’s “Vermin” series, featuring unsettling, textured drawings of a hare and its pelt — the animal and its transformation into fashion for cultural consumption). Adrienne Heloise’s cut paper collagraph plates coax monolithic images of lust and glory out of pattern and repetition, while Bridget May’s intricate paintings of the cross-sections of plant roots and stems remind us of nature’s hidden artistry. Collectively, these nuanced works both delight in and disturb the apparent seamlessness of life, melding science and fantasy.
— Lenika Cruz

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