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Chosen Terrain Critics' Pick Staff Pick

When: Sept. 15-27 2008

Jamie Morgan'spastels and prints and Mary Curtis Ratcliff's mixed-media works at Mercury 20 take topography and the sense of place as mere jumping-off points for subjective interpretation. Morgan's houses and cars are recognizable urban/suburban scene "portraits,", but they also crystallize color, light and atmosphere, tending toward abstract geometry. ; wWhile some of his images may be based on old architectural photos, Morgan's streamlined vision and direct rendering preclude nostalgia --as in Burchfield and Hopper, invoked here. Ratcliff prints large gray-scale digital photographs of landscape motifs from her travels in India and the American West and draws and paints on them, sometimes also adding collage and transfers, creating complex montages that play with scale and spatial ambiguity: abstraction and depiction go in and out of focus as we visually negotiate these hybrid spaces, equally centripetal and expansive, in which far and near intermingle, suggesting ritual transport and transformation. (Through September 27 at Mercury 20 (25 Grand Ave.,Oakland). 510-484-7785. -- DeWitt Cheng


Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Waterweb 2008
40 x 28 1/2 x 2 in. digital ink jet print, xerox transfer, colored pencil, graphite

Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parting of the Plates 2008
 30 x 82 x 2 in. digital ink jet print diptych , acrylic, xerox transfer, colored pencil, ink

Mary Curtis Ratcliff

— DeWitt Cheng


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