Representative Democracy 

Berkeley Art Center Members' Showcase offers a huge slate.

So many artists, so little time. Everyone relies on expert testimony and professional advice to make consumer choices: who has time for everything? Such critical consensus works fine usually, but it does lead art viewers to assume that all good work inevitably makes it to public view (as Arthur Danto seems to have assumed in one of his essays), having successfully run a series of critical gantlets; such is not always the case, unfortunately. That's why nonjuried omnibus group shows like Members' Showcase at Berkeley Art Center are valuable: they offer viewers a less mediated, though less orderly or predictable, experience; they're messily democratic. That said, the 244 BAC members, each exhibiting one work, get short shrift here, due to space constraints, and the listing of artworks below is messily subjective, too, so go and decide for yourself. As Wes Scoop Nisker says, if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own.

Notable works on paper (drawings, prints, photos) in the Showcase exhibition include Judith White Marcellini's "Lo-bee-lia," a painted paper relief sculpture/bouquet, along with works by Charlie Costello, Angie Garberina, Ingeborg Gerdes, Edith Hillinger, John Hundt, Glenda Jimmink, Karl Kasten, Cynthia King, Anthony Lazorko, Barbara Mehlman, Michael R. Reynolds, Thierry Rosset, Sylvia Sussman, and Laura Sutta. Paintings that drew my attention include Mariana Barnes' "Otonal II," suggesting a leaf, river system, or sectioned geode rendered in mosaic; Philip Tice's "Scylla and Charybdis," depicting Odysseus sailing between the clashing rocks and the sea monster, but with a surreal-comic stylization recalling Roger Brown and David Hockney; Laura A. Luzzi's indigo abstraction "Non-attachment," an introspective nocturnal seascape or landscape; Gary Paul Stutler's fearsome/tame "Panther" in its suburban backyard; and other works by Miguel Arzabe, Joel S. Beaird, Patricia Hebert Crowley, Christine Hanlon, Robbin Legere Henderson, Lucien Kubo, Liz Maxwell, Richard Menedez, Barbara Morris, Indira Martina Morre, Jane Neilson, Ann Phelan, Ally Richter, Gary Paul Stutler, Maurice Vercoutere, Vivian Waterloo, and Elena Zolotnitsky. Sculptures that caught my attention were Cosette Dudley's stele-like wooden carving "Urban Intrusion;" Irwin Luckman's ceramic sculpture, "Acrobatics;" and other works by Susan Doyle, Douglas Heine, Richard C. Herman, Scott Mickelson, and Anna N. Vaughan. Members' Showcase runs through January 25 at Berkeley Art Center (1275 Walnut St., Berkeley). or 510-644-6893.


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