On the Wall 

Our critics weigh in on local art.

De-Framed -- Oakland artists Caleb Rogers and Mark Taylor turn the Auto 3321 art gallery into a giant canvas with this enveloping exhibition. Rogers starts with multimedia collages on paper that metastasize vertically, diagonally, and horizontally, sending bright angular lines and painted patterns across the floor and ceiling. Taylor parries with genuine wallpaper and drawer-lining-paper-based surrealist imagery, the best of which clone Welsh corgis in different shades of plaid. The gallery pops with chaotic color and light that could've devolved into a bad interior decoration experiment, given less restrained hands. -- D2 (Closing reception April 29; 3321 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 510-593-8489.)

Effacements: An Exploration in Portrait -- Maverick East Bay curator Joyce Gordon should've called this exhibit "Defacements" after taking one look at the spot-on caricature of a raccoon-eyed Michael Jackson figuring prominently in this twenty-painting show by Oakland's Ali Dadgar. The Iranian-born veteran artist mixes pop iconography (Darth Vader, Curious George) with Islamic symbolism (Arabic words, etc.) and a fair amount of his own cryptic musings, resulting in a distinctly dark yet capricious tone. The skulls-vomiting-spikes motif reoccurs in several powerful, dark works, but Dadgar tempers his Marilyn Manson side with hypercolor Oompa Loompas and that huge Jacko portrait in glossy textured-paint layers. -- D2 (Through May 7 at 406 14th St., Oakland; 510-465-8928.)

The Vietnam War -- Cal's Northgate Hall yields black-and-white candids from the hills of Vietnam circa 1967, courtesy of then-21-year-old freelance photographer Catherine Leroy. Expect dying veterans, POWS, great framing, and a tight focus under what looks like live fire. The exhibit hinges on a chilling triptych in which a corpsman performs futile first aid on an injured buddy, with only the misty hills and the photographer to bear witness. The 18"x12" prints burst with detail, from the blasted reeds to the bloody clothes to the sky reflecting off the scared GI's corneas. (Through April 29 at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley; 510-642-3383.)

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