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WONDER: 2012 Artists Annual 

When: Thu., Dec. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays-Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Jan. 27 2013
Price: free

In an art climate heavily defined by the reign of the curator, an exhibition such as Wonder, Berkeley Art Center's annual open call, truly is a relaxing experience. Visitors, relieved of that grasping expression which has become synonymous with art viewing, meander casually amidst the show's 204 works, which are hung salon-style. Of course, there is a trade-off with a non-juried exhibition of this size: Pieces that otherwise might have shone are bound to become lost in the pile. Well, so it goes. Take in what you can and zero in when something calls to you. Here's some of what I liked: Bonnie Neumann's stitch-like depiction of the water's surface in "Crosscurrents #13"; Mili Rosenblatt's austere black-and-white photograph "Lunching with De Staebler"; Nell Haskell's romantic "Self Portrait"; and Jenny Bloomfield's evocative abstraction of the I-5 freeway. Wonder runs through January 27 at Berkeley Art Center (1275 Walnut St., Berkeley). 510-644-6893 or BerkeleyArtCenter.org

— Alex Bigman

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