Raven RainbowJanuary 20th, 2011
With Mercury 20 and Vessel Gallery closed due to a recent fire, it looked like the monthly first Friday Oakland Art Murmur was going to be a bit of a snoozer this January. Then I walked into Krowswork‘s “Raven Rainbow” exhibit, and felt like Peter Fonda when he stumbled upon the Black Mass in “Race with the Devil.”
The faithful sat in pews watching “The Furnace,” a video by SF-based Shalo P that calls to mind a sci-fi Hieronymus Bosch. The work is mesmerizing, familiar, amusing and horrifying… if I remember correctly. I watched for a good five minutes–way past my usual attention span–and now can’t recall a single detail. That can be considered a success. It bombards you with images that shift so rapidly as to be nearly subliminal. The work gets in under the radar, past your defenses.
The dark ritual continues in the project room with photos by German artist Alexander Binder. His images include the silhouette of a horned figure, a robed and masked man with palms pressed together in supplication, a dead rat, and menacing birds. This is some creepy work. Perhaps that’s inevitable when you’re born on Halloween night in the Black Forest of southwestern Germany.
Some of them could have ended up looking silly, but they don’t. Binder’s mythology is rendered using handmade lenses whose defects shroud the spectres as though through the mist of childhood memories, or a miasma of fear. In this dark forest, even a monkish apparition bathed in light must be viewed with suspicion.
The ceremony is nearly over: The exhibit closes on January 22. You might not want it hanging over your bed, but with Binder’s photos priced between $85-$175, just get in there and buy one.
Krowswork is located at 480 23rd Street (side entrance) in Oakland, CA. Gallery Hours: Fridays 3-6, Saturdays 1-5, and other times by appointment, including Sundays. According to their website, “If the gate is open and the signs are out, we are there.” Sounds like you might want to call ahead: 510-229-7035