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When: July 30-Sept. 12 2010

What hath man wrought? askBill Mattick, Chris Sicat, and ReenieCharrière in this examination of the natural world as human artifact. Mattick's untitled color photos of desolate fields and roadways dotted by telephone poles and makeshift structures reveal the "productive" capitalist landscape in all its deadpan, utilitarian glory. A sign planted amid spring flowers and foliage exhorts us to "Choose Life" (or, rather, afterlife); an abandoned carwash, its post-and-lintel structure suggesting a Shinto temple, sits on cracked, bleached asphalt. Sicat's wooden branches, stripped of bark ("Tree Relined," "Broken Tag A Log") and coated with dark, lustrous graphite, either completely, or just along the cut lines, suggest Beuysian healing through art, as do his meaty-looking wooden footprints ("Foot Stumps"). Charrière's installation ("Eleven") and abstract drawings insert plastic fragments into metaphoric trees or tornados and landscapes, respectively. Land Use runs through September 12 at Swarm Gallery (560 2nd St., Oakland). 510-839-2787 or SwarmGallery.com

— DeWitt Cheng

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