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Our critics review local visual arts exhibitions.

Elegance — More than half a dozen black and white male and female nude photographs decorate the lobby of Oakland's new Float Center (a sensory deprivation chamber service) this month. Kicking off a national tour for Duane Cramer, a professional photographer and AIDS activist who has worked with the likes of RuPaul, former Oakland Mayor Willie Brown, and Representative Ron Dellums, Elegance highlights Cramer's hotel-lobby-ready sense of pattern and contrast. Tanned, buff male models tend to clash with simple, organic patterns like rocks, leaves, and flowers. The standout piece is a nineteen-by-twelve-inch vertical framed print featuring a twentysomething masked male nude splayed in an antique chair. Cramer crops the shot tight at the brow and the thighs, and viewers' eyes zigzag diagonally down the portrait's major focal points, from the subject's eyes to his larynx, down the chest's midline and finally out the penis. The whole show is essentially a lesson in the power of such diagonals. Very competent, rather safe. Reception: June 3, 6-9 p.m. (Through July 11 at 1091 Calcot Pl. #116, Oakland; or 510-535-1702.)

Re:Form — Works by Gregg Fleishman — Remember those prefabricated wooden dinosaur models that came precut in a sheet of aircraft wood that you could make into triceratopses and T. rexes? Remember how you could pop out individual vertebrae and slot them into the ready-made hole on the spine? Architectural genius and obsessive Gregg Fleishman elevates the concept to the level of cutting-edge design in this awesomely contemporary show at the Swarm Gallery near Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. He covers most of the huge front showspace with the footprint of his prefabricated, 150-square-foot hut, which comes in 38 wooden pieces and takes four people five hours to erect. Computer-controlled saws using directions from an AutoCAD diagram precisely delineate the basic geometric forms, which Fleishman notches for doors, stairs, and windows. Several models of the work stand nearby and precut wooden chairs going for up to $1,800 apiece dot the room. Modern materials and fabrication techniques are turning even what could be cheap architecture into a designer's dream. Fleishman is only hinting at some of the possibilities. (Through June 18 at 560 2nd St., Oakland; or 510-839-2787.)


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