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True Places 

When: July 14-Aug. 19 2012

What is a place, let alone a "true" one? Eleven Portland-based artists have trained their practices on more or less this question, each digging at it from a different angle. In appreciation of their shared thematic and aesthetic sensibilities (all of them work predominantly in paint), the group recently formed a collective that gathers monthly for critique and dialogue. Now, they are exhibiting together at Swarm Gallery. The artists' points of inquiry vary dramatically: Adam Sorensen produces alien, iridescent landscapes that read somewhere between the utopian and the post-apocalyptic, while Kendra Larson describes more realistic locales, imbued with the romantic sense of awe and reverence that one may find in solitude in the woods. Ruth Lantz, meanwhile, working from the limited information of pinhole photographs, yanks her scenes into indeterminacy and abstraction. Space and place seem to trouble one another on her canvases, where potential landscapes cower behind fractured geometric patterns. True Places runs through August 19 at Swarm Gallery (560 2nd St., Oakland). 510-839-2787 or SwarmGallery.com

— Alex Bigman

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