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Sydney Cohen + W. Scott Trimble 

When: Aug. 25-Sept. 30 2012

A smartly curated two-artist show can cause two disparate artistic practices to play off of one another in the gallery space, in effect opening each other up wider than would otherwise have been the case. This is certainly true of the exhibition currently at Swarm Gallery, in which Seattle-based W. Scott Trimble occupies the floor space and Berkeley-based Sydney Cohen, the walls. Trimble's geometric, modular structures resemble a curious model city. Consisting of pyramidal skyscrapers and elaborate hamster-tube pathways, it evokes something between an Aztec village and a Star Wars outpost. Playing against the rigidity of these shell-like architectural exteriors, Cohen's fluid abstract paintings, composed of acrylic fields in a comforting palette of mauves, grays, mustard yellows, and the like, suggest the domestic interior, albeit one where solidity has given way to flux. Through October 7 at Swarm Gallery (560 2nd Street, Oakland). 510-839-2787 or SwarmGallery.com

— Alex Bigman

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