Christopher Romer, Serena Mitnik-Miller, Jamie Spinello

Thursday, June 03, 2010, 5:30 p.m.

Artists Gallery at Fort Mason

The work of sculptor Christopher Romer feels right at home in the Bay Area. Working primarily with wood and paint, Romer constructs abstract shapes that individually and collectively relate to longstanding interest in the artists of this region. He freely references nature, animals, figuration, 20th-century nostalgia, humor, fishing, and hunting. His work harkens  back to the Bay Area Funk art movement of the 1970s, but with a refreshing twist. A sense of wit and a passion for craft are equally important in his sculpture. Now living and working in Berkeley, Romer first studied art in England, his native country, and later attended graduate school at the Chicago Art Institute and taught and practiced in New York.

Serena Mitnik-Miller is an artist who loves the sea, and her personal connection to it permeates her work. As a child she was transplanted from New England to Hawaii, where surfing and making art became her life. Skilled in a variety of media, she has taken elements of the ocean lifestyle and reinterpreted them in both abstract and representational work. On view in this exhibition is her new series of large-scale abstract watercolors. These pieces interconnect patterns of color and value, forming networks that are intricate and delicate yet strong, simulating the essence of free moving water.

Science informs the sculptural relief work of Jamie Spinello. Layers of organic shapes inspired by skeletons, insects, and botany are cut out of thin plastic or paper. Looking for relationships and similarities, Spinello assembles the parts until an amalgam is created. Housed in Plexiglas boxes, they call to mind trophy specimens found in a lab of the imagination. Nothing scientifically real is created, but the resulting objects resemble biological anomalies created by some unknown synthesis. The works are informed by the artist's early fascination with simulated environments such as dioramas, aquariums, and miniature models.