On the Wall 

Our critics weigh in on local art.

Reviews by David Downs and Brady Kahn

For complete, up-to-date East Bay art listings, look under Billboard on the home page for the "Select Category" pulldown, then select "Art Galleries" or "Museums."

Deciphering the Code -- More than 36 pieces from a handful of artists entice visitors to this medium-spanning collection from the "Taking the Leap" art class. Notably, Zahava Sherez presents six haunting ceramic shrouds, innards hollowed out, then reloaded with symbolic materials like plants and newspaper. Lorraine Bonner's cryptic black clay busts offer demon heads, hollowed skulls, and cracked glass hearts as Bonner grapples with a childhood of immense abuse. The exhibit lacks a thematic center, but its playful splashing about is rewarding. -- D2 (Through February 25 at 6121 Hollis St., Emeryville.)

Serving the People: The Black Panther Party Photographs -- Eighteen black-and-white photos from the party's active period record various Panthers' efforts to educate, feed, and run for government in the Bay Area. Focus and framing doesn't impress, and more history can be gleaned from books in the Oakland Library. However, the exhibit excels as a collection of candids from a bygone era. -- D2 (Through March 19 at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., 510-981-6100.)

Together We Survive -- Photomontage artist Keba Konte and sculptor "eesuu" explore and stimulate the emotional response to faces with Together We Survive, an arresting and intriguing exhibit at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland. Part photo-real, part primordial, this exhibit dwells almost explicitly on African-American visages: men, women, and children from across the world whispering and shouting at the viewer. -- D2 (Through March 30 at the Joyce Gordon Gallery; 510-465-8928.)

The Vietnam War -- Cal's Northgate Hall yields black-and-white candids from the hills of Vietnam circa 1967, courtesy of then-21-year-old freelance photographer Catherine Leroy. Expect dying veterans, POWS, great framing, and a tight focus under what looks like live fire. -- D2 (Through April 29 at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley; 510-642-3383.)

What's Going On? -- Last week for the Oakland Museum's show about the Vietnam war era in California. (Through February 27; MuseumCA.org or 510-238-2200.)


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