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Of Sinew and Soil 

When: Jan. 26-29 2010

Overt grappling with materials went out of style with the capsizing of Abstract Expressionism and the bobbing to the surface of more industrial, coolly cerebral aesthetics. Going to nature for inspiration (remember Georgia O'Keefe and Henry Moore?) likewise all but vanished with Pop and its buoyant successors (except for Neo-Ex in the 1980s). Sister and brother Shivani and KaliasRajan, painter and sculptor, respectively, obviously stick with the old-time religion. In Shivani's paintings, California's undulating hills resemble our bodies, "forces within and ... without" seen as equivalent. In Kalias' sculptures, tree branches similarly suggest torsos. While there's a bit too much reverence toward organic form here (and the idea that humanity is part of "Earth's body," in Shivani's words), is that old enough to be new again? Of Sinew and Soil runs through Jan. 29 at Studio Quercus (385 26th St., Oakland, by appt.). 510-452-4670 or StudioQuercus.com

— DeWitt Cheng

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