What's Happening in East Bay Art 

Our critics weigh in on local art.

For complete, up-to-date East Bay art listings, look under Billboard on the home page for the "Select Category" pulldown, then select "Art Galleries" or "Museums."

Local Voice -- The first-ever juried exhibition at Walnut Creek's opulent, well-lit Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts drops the international pretension for some homegrown action. More than four hundred Contra Costa County artists answered this fall's "Local Voice" call for entries, blowing away planners' expectations and challenging sole juror Marian Parmenter of SFMOMA, who took less than a day to cut all but 216 pieces. Two hours aren't enough to see everything that's going on in each work, but the best pieces have a way of standing out, usually as cunning slices of life in hyperreal paintings and photography. George Trabert takes a gentleman's shot at vapid consumer whoredom with "Broadway II" -- showing women's faces blending into corporate logos in a Walnut Creek storefront. Joy Broom's wax-on-laserprint Six Virgin Birds layers bird anatomy and the Madonna, and Doris Porch's $800 miniature Redlands Landscape #3 -- with its Pantone-perfect blue and white desert sky -- is worth every penny. (Through November 13 at the Bedford Gallery, 1301 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek; DLRCA.org or 925-295-1417.)

Paint Behaving Badly -- The dark, dank YWCA lounge doesn't do justice to the colorful, playful takes on shrink-wrapped culture from Philip Donahue and Whitney Vosburgh, exhibiting through the month. The two locals present 23 abstract, sheen-enhanced color and form studies that eschew brushes for resin and giclée-sprayed messes, all lacquered and shiny like a new toy from Best Buy. Donahue's "Hot Springs" drenches thick tactile layers of clear resin over a green and blue swirling depiction of light and shadow; the point of view is ostensibly from the bottom of a hot spring looking up. Vosburgh's "Veiled Threat" uses polymer paint and dry-cleaner bags draped down the canvas to create the threat of gross, soapy discharge. Rivulets are frozen midfall, threatening the cleanliness of the whole room but failing to deliver. (Through October 31 at 2600 Bancroft Way, Berkeley; YWCA-Berkeley.org)

Parallel Investigations I -- Ceramic clones, synthetic stomachs, and abstract staphylococci colonize the Pro Arts Gallery this month, part of an underpublicized show by local installation artists confronting posthumanism with equal parts furor and humor. Sculpture artist Kin Kwok decorates a phalanx of ceramic homunculi with different anthropo- and zoomorphic masks while Andrew Kleindolph's The Great Stomach offers viewers several buttons to push with little effect. That is, until his dresser-size mass of wires, wood, CD players, and speakers starts spitting and gurgling obnoxious organic beeps and blurps. Kleindolph further pushes your buttons with a mannequin reverse-engineered by wires and lights for a Beautiful Dismemberment. Wall dressings come courtesy of former microbiologist Ruth Tabancay, who finds abstract art in the concrete science of the intrastellar studies. Her nano-shots of bacteria, spores, and other relative invisibles get pumped up in bright colors and woven into poster-size tapestries. (Through October 30 at 550 2nd St., Oakland; 510-763-4361.)


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