Otherwise: Marsha Balian & Sherry Parker

June 29 – July 29, 2017
First Friday Reception:  July 7th from 6-9 pm
Closing Reception: Saturday, July 22nd, 2-4 pm

Artists Marsha Balian and Sherry Parker both work in the medium of collage, using instinctive juxtapositions of found images & intuitive compositions to create works full of mystery and humor.

Balian, who leaves behind a long career as health care provider, sees her work as reflecting an interest in the bits & pieces of narrative that make up a life. Her collages, however, are never straightforward stories. They begin with a playful mix of odds & ends, ephemera, and studio scraps. And she builds on each work as improvisation, letting the sense & direction of each piece unfold intuitively. As she says, “I continue as much as I can to absorb stories, irony and the humor that is just beneath the surface. That humor feeds me and infuses my artwork where I have the lucky opportunity to celebrate and laugh.” Viewers are free to extrapolate about the characters and stories hinted at in Balian’s work.

Balian’s artwork has been shown throughout the Bay Area and throughout the US. Her work has appeared in many publications including Kolaj Magazine, American Art Collector, Studio Visit, Gathering Cloud, and most recently, in Dada Centennial Day of the Dead from the museum of Collage, Assemblage & Construction. 

Of her work Sherry Parker says: “CHANCE is my muse. Chance has been a pervasive force in the sequence of my life as an artist, beginning with my unexpectedly intriguing involvement with Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School in the late 60’s through which I was introduced to the addictive magic of collage and collaboration.” Her impeccably crafted collages have much in common with classic Surrealism, with their shadowy landscapes and enigmatic hybrid animal/object forms. In 2010, Parker was the originator, director, curator and participating artist in a two-year project called, “EXCOR: Revival of Exquisite Corpse.” The project included 34 California artists who collaboratively produced 50 “EXCORS.” To document the project, she wrote and published an 80-page book featuring the history of Exquisite Corpse and the revival with color illustrations of all 50 works.

The works of Balian & Parker draw on unconscious choices mediated by thoughtful aesthetic consideration. What Parker says of her own work could apply to both: ‘What excites me about this medium are the ideas that flow from chance: the serendipitous discovery of “found” materials, the random (unconscious) selection process, the fortuitous mistakes, and the bringing together of disparate ephemera to begin the formation of order out of chaos. Oxymoronically, I call this process “orchestrated chance.” ‘

The exhibit will be at GearBox Gallery, 770 West Grand Ave in Oakland from June- Juy 29, 2017, with a reception on Friday, July 7th.

GearBox Gallery is a contemporary artist-run exhibit space which opened in February of 2015. The gallery is dedicated to showcasing the work of its members and guest artists in the region, and on fostering community dialogue and education through intellectual and cultural exchange focused on the visual arts.

The GearBox is open Thursdays and Fridays from 12 to 6 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. GearBox Gallery is also open 6-9 pm the First Friday of every month as part of the Oakland Art Murmur Art Walkimage left: Marsha Balian, M is for Mammal, 12 x 12”  right: Sherry Parker, The Journey, 8 x 7.5”