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When: Feb. 20-March 29 2009

Jake Watling, Jared Clark,and Joe Penrodtake eccentricity seriously. Watling's paintings, drawings, and sculptures hint at absurdist stories; here, folk art meets underground cartooning. In "Death Rides Again," a grinning Maori-style shaman, its body made of raffia grasses, poses on his mountain bike before storefronts and billboards; in "Death on the Cross," a black Christ contends with the lingo of commercial religion (SINS, DEATH, LIFE) before an indifferent audience that includes zoo animals. Clark's mixed-media drawings and sculptures incorporate found objects (pins, rocks, and super balls) as obstacles/nodes in his abstract collage paintings on paper, which resemble pinball machines, game boards, or maps gone psychedelic. His minimalist stacked sculptures play flat glass against tangential spheres. Penrod creates a hybrid painting/sculpture: "Orange and Blue" is a stacked-traffic-cone version of Brancusi's modular war memorial, "Endless Column," here given an Impressionist shadow of blue painter's tape. Enter/Exitruns through March 29 at Swarm Gallery (560 Second St., Oakland) or 510-839-2787.

— DeWitt Cheng


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