Co-Lab 

At Athen B Gallery.

For artists, sometimes collaboration can be infuriating, and sometimes it can be a crucial push outside a limiting comfort zone. In the case of co·lab at Athen B (1525 Webster St., Oakland), its current show involving 38 artists who were each paired with another artist whom he or she had never worked with before, the latter definitely appears to have been true. Following through on its mission to not only nurture creative dialogue in the East Bay, but to also facilitate relationships between local and international artists, Athen B brought together nineteen unexpected pairs with about half of its constituents being from elsewhere. Still, some of the best work came from collaborations between local artists. In the piece contributed by Athen B residents Kate Klingbeil and Katherine Rutter, for instance, Klingbeil’s signature style of creating multi-layered paper tableaus harmoniously accommodates Rutter’s intricate and whimsical watercolor-filled drawings. The artists chose to envision a fantasy picnic, which resulted in a sprawling spread of delectable food among lounging women — like a “Garden of Earthly Delights” for female indulgence. Like many of the works in the show, it’s a remarkably well-fit hybridization of two styles just different enough to intrigue.

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