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Four Gallery Openings This Week

Gwenaël Rattke + Chloe Griffin; film still from Projections II; courtesy of Gwenaël Rattke + Chloé Griffin and Romer Young Gallery

It’s that time of year, and this week a host of vibrant city galleries are getting in the holiday spirit (well, only one of them in an explicit sense, unless you count wacky Dutch New Wave film screenings and existential meditations in graphite as “the holiday spirit”). For casual art lovers as well as aspiring collectors with year-end bonuses at their disposal, we’ve rounded up this week’s four most promising openings.

Projections: 5 Nights/5 Curators
Romer Young Gallery’s film series (pictured above) is underway, offering five curators’ choice selections – distinctive reels that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, any other time. Tactfully passing over the question of what separates “art-film” from the stuff you’d catch at the Kabuki, we recommend the following sampling:

Tonight, Romer Young curates a selection of its own artists’ video work. You’ve seen their painting, collage, sculpture, installation and photography; now, see what they can do on the silver screen. Tomorrow, curator Glen Helfand selects Daisies, a madcap Czech film banned upon its original 1966 release. Expect plenty in the way of liquid eyeliner, political satire and, yes, a boozy gourmet food fight.

Screenings December 14, 15 and 16 at Romer Young Gallery, 1240 22nd Street. Doors at 6, screenings at 6:30 p.m.

Annual Holiday Group Exhibition

Kathryn Arnold. Red Field. Oil on Canvas. 48”x54”

It’s been a good year for Sandra Lee Gallery, and they have decided to end it with a veritable highlight reel of 2011’s best work, by their own gallery artists as well as featured guests.

Sangwoo Koh. Digital C-print. 40”x30”

The gallery has devised the show with casual art-lovers as well as young collectors in mind, selecting works that will provoke juxtaposition and complimentary readings, and also bringing out pieces that wear a price tag in the relatively affordable, $200 - $2,000 range. Did we mention that champagne and live music have been promised at the opening reception? Just in case you were still on the fence.

Annual Holiday Group Exhibition runs through December 30 at Sandra Lee Gallery, 251 Post Street. Opening Reception: Thursday, December 15 from 5 – 7:30 p.m.

New Document

Andrew Chapman; Hello, my name is Vector; Acrylic and oil on panel, 60” x 96” (diptych)

The saying “art is a window into the soul” takes on new meaning in an age where windows are something you double-click to open. With “New Document,” prominent downtown Oakland gallery Johansson Projects gives the stage to four artists exploring the question of a generation (or two): how does our increasingly computerized environment affect the way we not only make art, but see the world?

“Layering,” “cropping” and “rendering” don’t mean what they did fifty years ago. This group show, incorporating art-methods and media ranging from the ancient (brush strokes) to the modern (video compression and 3-D rendering), promises to put our ever-expanding “visual literacy” to philosophical work.

New Document runs December 15 – January 21 at Johansson Projects, 2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Opening Reception: Saturday, December 17 from 3 – 5 p.m.

Ed Loftus: Big Things to Avoid

Ed Loftus; Untitled, 2011; carbon pencil on paper, 22 x 32 in.; courtesy of Gregory Lind Gallery

This UK-born, now Oakland-based artist does not skirt the heavy stuff. Sometimes drawing from old family photographs or found images, sometimes starting from purely symbolic ground, Loftus broaches issues including, but not limited to, fear, obsessiveness, and the concept of the inevitable. And just in time for the holidays.

In seriousness, though, Loftus is renowned for his meticulous, photo-realistic graphite process as much as his conceptual courage. It’s a style that captivates in and of itself, making this is a show for deep thinking and close-viewing.

Big Things to Avoid runs December 17- January 21 at Gregory Lind Gallery, 49 Geary St., Fifth Floor. Opening Reception: Saturday, December 17 from 2 – 5 p.m.