Leah Markos, Paul Mueller, & "Michigan" at Mercury Twenty
Exhibition dates: June 21-July 28, 2012
Artists' Reception: Saturday, June 30th from 6-8pm. Artists' Talk at 5pm.
Oakland Art Murmur First Friday: July 6 from 6-9pm
Leah Markos: conveyance
conveyance is a show of conceptual sculptures sprung from the artist's enduring fascination with the complexities and dualities of character formation: what character we are given, and what we find or create; what we reveal and what we hide and how that influences our lives; what we cling to and how that can hold us in comfort or lock us down; what we endure or experience and how it may nurture, change, or simply confront the content of our core being. Our patterns may shape us to some degree, but our inner natures will direct some of those patterns. We hold, we carry, we receive.
Leah Markos, "Holding Series - I" (2011), plaster, stones, cabinet hardware, 11"w x 19"l x 19"h. Photo: John White
A range of materials from organic to industrial (including textiles, plaster, stones, and threads) bring both lyrical and blunt beauty to the various conceptual works, which quietly celebrate and lament at the same time.
Leah Markos is a virtual native of the Bay Area. Her BFA was largely focused on painting and drawing, but she has been magnetically and irrevocably drawn to creating sculptural works and installations for the past decade.
Photographing is an act of receptivity, acquisition, and storytelling. Paul Mueller's work is concerned broadly with human activity both implied and described. His work stems from the documentary tradition, as he investigates complexities of social testimony through the photographic image. Mueller's loyalty is, however, less to truth-telling than to offering meaningful possibilities. Mueller presents images from two bodies of work in progress: Along These Lines, and Public Displays.
Paul Mueller, "Untitled", (2012), Lightjet print, 10" x 75", © Paul Mueller
Along These Lines is a visual poem that grapples with the subject of traveling through the world in both literal and figurative senses, from the everyday acts of walking down a sidewalk or driving across town, to the arc of a life involving milestones of friendship and family. It imagines the human experience to be one of standing still as the physical objects and events of the world pass by and through us. By placing several images together in single rows the work enters into a complex game of meaning-creation. The results are, by turns, intimate, comic, pleasing, and dissonant.
While Along These Lines imagines photographs in conversation, Public Displays is firmly situated in the legacy of street photography where the goal is the single image made at the right time from the right place. This collection comprises work made mostly with medium format film cameras in the Bay Area over the past 10 years.
Paul Mueller has a MFA in Photography from Stanford University and a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). He teaches photography at Ohlone College in Fremont California.
Gallery Artists: Michigan
In a fortuitous coincidence, one quarter of Mercury 20's artists are from Michigan. The artists explore different aspects of their home state--past and present--in this group exhibition. They remember it as a great place to grow up, sometimes missing the change of seasons, the fall colors, Lake Michigan, the fabulous thunder storms, solitude and their families. They also detail experiences of the diminished and decaying cities of the present day.
Mary Curtis Ratcliff, "Dunes at Lake Michigan" (2012), digital ink jet print, 21" x 28" photo credit: Mary Curtis Ratcliff
Jody Medich, "The Bedroom on Grande," (2008), Oil on linen, 84" x 60"
Eric Bohr shows a large mixed media painting and small photos of destroyed auto plants in his hometown of Lansing, mounted on scraps of metal scavenged from former plant sites. He contrasts the agrarian roots of the region (and his family) and the rise and fall of the auto industry.
Jody Medich presents paintings documenting the abandoned homes of Detroit including "4375 Bishop" an oil on linen with lye in a plexi-glass case that is in a state of continual decay.
Summers growing up on the shore of Lake Michigan had a deep influence on Mary Curtis Ratcliff and her artistic life. The warm water, sun and sand provided a beautiful place to be in nature and a serene place to dream. In Ratcliff's mixed media work one discovers the interconnectedness of things as new associations emerge across the space of her images.
Kerry Vander Meer presents an interactive installation about late summer nights spent as a child chasing fire flies as they flitted across the damp grass.