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The Art of Ben Witzke: Scientific Illustrator and Naturalist 

When: April 29-June 2 2012

The Bone Room (1569 Solano Ave., Berkeley) is surely one of the East Bay's strangest and most compelling shops, and its gallery next door matches its curious wonder. Perhaps the only thing more interesting than the skull of a Precambrian lizard is a meticulously rendered, masterfully executed watercolor of it. You can see both in the exhibit The Art of Ben Witzke: Scientific Illustrator and Naturalist. It's refreshing to see the work of a skilled craftsman in the otherwise existential landscape of conceptualists in the East Bay gallery scene. Scientific illustration is not realistic painting; it is transcendentally real: the detail is exaggerated and the form of the creature is accentuated. To see this tradition presented so exceptionally by a local artist is a pleasure that is second only to the weird nature of his sometimes-bizarre subjects. The Art of Ben Witzke: Scientific Illustrator and Naturalist runs through June 2. 510-526-5252 or BoneRoom.com

— Obi Kaufmann

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