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The Shrouded Figure 

When: Aug. 5-Sept. 17 2011

Is the recent arrival at the Legion of Honor of The Mourners, alabaster funerary sculptures from late medieval Burgundy, an indication of a new, sadder, wiser America? Maybe not -- read the other news. Nevertheless, Sas Colby's and Karen Benioff Friedman's images of hooded, wrapped figures eschew the blithe cynicism of Philip Johnson's three cloaked "corporate goddesses" atop 580 California St. in San Francisco from 1984. Colby draws mysterious wrapped bundles that one gradually realizes are body bags in some gloomy region defined by dark atmospheric washes and dribbling tear tracks ("Wrapped Bodies in Dark Space," "The Mourners"); her lyrical drawings of Buddhas add a lighter note. Friedman makes monotypes of silhouetted figures partially dissolved by light and distance ("Patriots' Guardians," "Shrouded Figure 3, 4, 5"), reminiscent of Nathan Oliveira's lithographs of masked shamans/mummers. Shrouded Figure runs through Sept. 17 at OakopolisCreativityCenter (447 25th St., Oakland). 510-663-6920 or

— DeWitt Cheng


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