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Adobe Art Gallery explores future of art

Photo Courtesy of CSUEB

Photo Courtesy of CSUEB

Marcus Bishop,
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There are no two identical pieces, and it’s evident that each of the watercolor, acrylic, oil, photography and ceramic works created by 59 artists featured in a new Adobe Art Gallery exhibition have their own story, influences and inspirations.

Through March 4, Adobe Art Gallery in Castro Valley, a public fine art gallery, is hosting “Looking Forward,” a six-week art gallery exhibition that features 2-D and 3-D abstract, visual and fine art across various media. Virsik described the theme “Looking Forward” as “a view to the future.” The exhibit opened Saturday, and is open to the public.

“Art fans everywhere have a wonderful opportunity to see the breadth and talent of East Bay Area artists,” said gallery director Leah Virsik.

Each piece of art uniquely represents its artist. Marie Kulka’s panoramic “Early Morning Fog Glow,” which received honorable mention, depicts a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay at dawn. Kulka’s composition aims to make viewers feel as if they are there, in person, viewing the Bay at daybreak.

CSUEB alumni Lee Daguman’s acrylic piece “Lady” is one of many unique pieces on display. “Evoking beauty and depth through a faceless but feminine hair style hovering amidst vibrant splashes of color over a small, single feminine silhouette,” exhibit attendee Bruce Roberts said about Daguman’s work.

Botanic artist Kathleen Hardwig’s work “Red Flowering Gum” utilizes watercolor to bring to life the branch of a flower, but she opted not to use green paint, despite its obvious choice. “The many natural shades of green were created through the use of other colors,” Hardwig said.

Before becoming an art space, the Adobe Art Gallery belonged to Castro Valley’s first elementary school. The Adobe building was leased to the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District to satisfy the need for an art center, according to gallery officials.

In 1984, a group of artists affiliated with the Adobe Gallery founded a resident organization within the gallery, called “Artists Relaxing Together,” or A.R.T. Inc., to help Bay Area artists come together to support one another, and provide a place to exhibit work. The group hosts free art demonstrations, exhibitions and social events, funded by its own members and Alameda County Arts Foundation grants.

The exhibit features the work of Artist Guild East Bay vice president and watercolor specialist Barbara Berner and landscape and aviation artist Attila Cziglenyi, a recipient of local, regional and national art awards. Oakland impressionist painter Biz Rasam — born in Kabul, Afghanistan — will also have work on display.

“My work is mainly representational and influenced by my surroundings and culture,” Rasam said.

Of the 59 entrants, five received judge Angela Johal’s award of merit. Award recipients include Mercie Harris’ “Breeze,” Nick Calarco’s “Star of India,” Lynne Shephard’s “Migration,” Lisa Rigge’s “When Life was Simple” and Kay Athos’ “Secrets.”  In addition to the merit award, the five recipients also a received a $100 cash prize.

Johal is an artist and San Jose State University alumni represented by the Slate Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, as well as the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. Artistically, she is recognized for her use of recycling materials and geometric figures.

The Adobe Art Gallery resides behind a park, so it’s hidden from pedestrians and traffic.

Virsik referred to the gallery as “One of Castro Valley’s best kept secrets.” “Looking Forward” will run Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and admission is $10.

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Adobe Art Gallery explores future of art