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Tickling Thicket 

When: Oct. 30-Dec. 13 2008

Yvette Molina's paintings and Katy Stone's wall constructions filter nature imagery through postmodern analysis, achieving lyrical beauty while asserting their identity as artifacts -- hence, the show title, Tickling Thicket. Molina paints stylized forest scenes in alkyd on aluminum. With their elegant brushstrokes, careful glazing, silhouetted forms, and subdued, almost monochromatic, palette, they resemble Chinese lacquered screens. Some of her smaller works suggest porcelain or raku pottery, or fans, minus handles. Stone's painted Duralar constructions, with their superimposed planes and exposed hardware, recall the planar assemblages of Frank Stella and Tom Holland. Here, floral motifs are rendered in acrylic paint on archival acetate, which is then cut into intricate patterns and reassembled. Superimposed, the transparent layers merge in the eye to create poetic plants (or jellyfish or other invertebrates) in shallow sculptural relief. Tickling Thicket runs through December 13 at Johansson Projects (2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). 510-444-9140.


— DeWitt Cheng

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