Jill McLennan And Julianne Wallace Sterling At Mercury 20 Gallery

Left: Jill McLennan, "Cottonmill Cycle" 2018, oil on canvas, 36" x 36" (photo by artist) Right: Julianne Wallace Sterling "speak each other in passing" 2018, graphite, acetate and mixed-media photography, 30" x 24" (photo by artist)
Left: Jill McLennan, “Cottonmill Cycle” 2018, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″ (photo by artist)
Right: Julianne Wallace Sterling “speak each other in passing” 2018, graphite, acetate and mixed-media photography, 30″ x 24″ (photo by artist)

Jill McLennan explores and observes the city of Oakland, a city she has chosen to call home for 18 years. She delves into the industrial history, researching historical photographs and learning the stories of this vibrant city, built on wetlands of the Bay. She documents the rapidly changing present while assessing her own place in this chaos. Where do artists fit into this bustling influx of wealth and development? How do we as educators explain why so many people can’t find places to live in this economic boom? What is our current reality as a city? What will happen to the people who have lived here all along? Will all of these newcomers contribute to the cultural fabric of Oakland? How will this new skyline change our outlook? How many more people will move here to pay the high rents? What about the people who can not pay their rent? What about the people who work low paying jobs, who we depend on to keep the city flowing? When will the rivers overflow? When will the salmon stop being able to swim upstream? When is enough, enough?

Over the last year, Julianne Wallace Sterling found herself exiting the insanity of the freeway in favor of surface streets. Many an afternoon, as she crawled ever so slowly through traffic, she became interested in the people who occupied the streets as she commuted between work and home. She began drawing from candid photos that she took along the way, dabbling in photographing the sky, sidewalks and buildings. The body of work resulting from her fleeting observations is a mixed-media love song to her commute. She has created a series of drawings on matte acetate, and layered them, the layers pushing figures and photos forward and backward in space, her viewer along for the ride as she gets closer and closer to home.

Exhibition Dates: October 25 – December 1, 2018

Mercury 20 Gallery
475 25th Street
Oakland, CA
Between Telegraph & Broadway

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