Serious Whimsy

Sometime dramatic, sometimes whimsical, art can be either

Sometime dramatic, sometimes whimsical, art can be either

As if I hadn’t spent enough time immersed in art on Thursday, after the tour I drove Gail home and headed right back into Oakland to enjoy the Thursday night open studios.

First stop was Mercury 20, where our friend Dave Meeker was opening his show, Lucky.  He has a number of works on the theme of how lucky we all are to live in this time and place.  Dave is not a very serious type of guy, so his work is light and funny.  There is a piece in the front of the exhibition which consists of a leaf blower connected to a bowl of dice–you can push the button, the blower blows and you see how “lucky” you were with the dice coming up.

DON’T PUSH THE BUTTON!!!  It’s godawful loud and will make you and everyone else crazy.  Dave has an odd sense of humor.

Then he has 3 ladders set up, from which he has erased all traces of “ladderness” so you can walk under them with no trace of bad luck.

The art patrons are part of the show, too.

The art patrons are part of the show, too.


In the back half of Mercury 20, there is an exhibit by the artist Charlie Milgrim.  Feeling particularly whimsical, her show is “Pet Peas”, for which she somehow amassed a number of green bowling balls and let her imagination roam free.  Some times we thing of art as always heavy and meaningful, but I think having these in your house would just make you smile every time you saw them:

Pet peas on leashes, ready for their walk.

Pet peas on leashes, ready for their walk.


Now we get to the serious part of the evening.  The gallery next door is PHOTO, and they have an excellent new show mounted.

Valeria Troubina and Yuri Boyko are Ukrainian, although they live in Oakland.  Last year they went back to Ukraine to make this photo series, Immersive Identity.  Yuri is the photographer, Valeria did the body makeup.

The artist statement seems like the typical artsy bollocks:


What is the relationship of each entity to itself? Immersive Identity addresses human self-conception in a sociological context. It explores radical change over time as well as ever present humanity. Human identity transcends national, cultural, physiological, sexual, or virtual signs—all the while immersed in them.

The series has two sections: “Figures” and “Portraits”. The former represents the evolving human socio type over history, and the latter reflects the personal presence and an affirmation of the omnipresent magic state of being.

The photos are strong.

From "Immersive Identity"

From “Immersive Identity”


The model here is a Ukrainian woman who works with autistic children when not modeling.  They gave her a mask and let her express herself, and the photos are wonderful, as she became more and more free in movement and gesture as her identity faded behind the mask and body paint.

I really loved this show, and strongly recommend it.


Mercury 20 and PHOTO are on 25th street in Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway.  Check them out.



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