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Intimate Observer: 

When: May 1-30 2009

Two Oaklanders explore the urban landscape. Jill McLennan's paintings and drawings, collectively entitled Intimate Observer, depict her Jingletown neighborhood as tapestries of color and texture ("Fourth St., Dusk" "Ford St., Afternoon"). The panoramic vistas invite visual strolling, while the meandering perspectives and heightened colors exude a folk-art expansiveness, with everything touched by grace: Rousseau's Paris may come to mind, but with American energy and drive, symbolized by 880's "urban river" overpasses ("Cotton Mill, Twilight"). Jamie Morgan's paintings and pastels, entitled Speed and Ecstasy, explore the silent mystery and beauty of unpeopled roads, bridges, and parking structures ("ParkStreetBridge," "Distant House," "Empty Lot"). The works' compositional rigor and poetic feeling for light may remind viewers of Hopper and Sheeler. "On Ramp, Off Ramp" depicts parallel dark and illuminated roadways streaked by taillights that diverge under a full moon framed by black trees. Showsrun through May 30 at Mercury 20 Gallery (25 Grand Ave., Oakland). MercuryTwenty.com or 510-701-4620.


— DeWitt Cheng

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