Trip to Oakland, ProArts

Granted, this is really not a “road” trip for us, but for someone living in Denver it could be….

After months of a dehydrated rainy season, we finally got some rain.  Oola and I are waterproof, so umbrellas in hands we headed out to an Opening Reception for a show at ProArts Gallery, in Civic Center, downtown Oakland.  Works in this show were chosen by peer review — a novel premise for a show and an instructive process.  We were not disappointed with the results.  There were so many great pieces it was hard to choose what to write about.

I was happy to find my artist book “Wave” displayed in a generous space to its best advantage —

artist book, "Wave"
“Wave” in good company

and in the best of company.

I was completely smitten by Michael Koehle’s “Sink”.  It has the translucent depth of layers and layers of wax.  I’m not sure how it was done, but the drawing (pigment print) seemed to float somewhere in the middle of those layers. Poetic merging of content and medium.  Exquisite linear quality.  Love it!

"Sink", print on wax surface
“Sink” by Michael Koehle

Nearby are two paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank.   At first they only whispered to me.

Paintings by Bernadette Jiyong Frank
Spaces in Between (Glacier Blue) and Untitled (Red)

Then, on the second go-round — all forty layers of nearly transparent paint sucked me in.  A memory of listening to Mozart intensely and hearing (for the first time) the silence between the notes, the minute space between the end of one sound and the beginning of the next sound — that memory jumped to mind.  Later Bernadette told me about the Japanese concept of “Ma” which is about the spaces in between — in time, in space.  Something like what artists call negative space, which is not negative at all, but can be considered to be the form between the forms, or that which gives the forms their shape.  Exceptional work!

All the way on the other side of the gallery is a pair of embroidered silk hangings by Tali Weinberg.  She tells us that the strong text is from her conversations with Bay Area women — artists, activists, and scholars.  The strength, directness and weight of the stitching underlines the intensity of the verbal sentiments.

These complex works really need to be seen with light coming through them.  The strands of red on the back, strangely compelling and reminiscent of dripping blood, are as strong as the words on the front.

Light as a breeze through drying laundry, heavy as a dying social construct.

One more — though there are so many good ones!  Dear to my heart are the folded elephant-hide paper constructions of Goran Konjevod.

Folded paper constructions by Gordon Konjevod
Folded paper constructions by Goron Konjevod

I asked him if he had thoughts of making larger constructions.  The problem is finding the paper strong enough to resist the force of gravity.  “Perhaps in Bronze”, Oola said.  “Maybe”, said Goron.  He’s working on the “how” of it now.

I felt proud to be included in this collection from Bay Area artists.  The artists will be talking about and taking questions about their work on Saturday Feb. 15th, starting at 2PM in the gallery.  The show is up through Feb. 21.

You can visit Bernadette Jiyong Frank’s blog to see unobstructed views of more work in the show.

ProArts Gallery
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza,
Oakland, CA  (Close to 12th St. BART station)

www.proartsgallery.org510 763 4361

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 11AM to 4PM.

By jandove



  1. A road-trip for me in Houston. Glad to hear about rain finally coming to CA. Most be like Spring arriving in Houston after the period from Nov through Jan being 7th coldest since Weather Service first started keeping records in 1887. 4 days ago in 40’s now 70’s & 80’s.
    Houston in SHOCK.

    Greatly enjoyed the exhibition. Your book is wonderful, and yes, well placed. The silk hangings by Tale Weinberg are marvelous. The silk and words float like words uttered in a breeze.

    Happy late Valentine’s Day. I send my heart to your’s. Within next
    couple of weeks will get my V Day Greetings out. Never to late to
    tell friends you deeply care about them.

    Last 2 days photographed the local Buddhist temple’s festival, held annually, 2 weeks after the New Year. Wow…can they party! Fashion shows, Vietnamese rock, traditional music & dance, Lion Dance with 30′ of fire crackers. Still ringing in my ears 18 hours later.

    Best to you, Steve and Queenie,



  2. I remember a day in Chicago when I went to school dressed for 70degree weather and came home in below freezing with the Hawk raging through the bus shelter.

    And yes, this weird weather is scary. Even scarier — there are still some doubters.

    Please wear ear protection when photographing around fire crackers. When and where will you be publishing the work?


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