Abundant light is a well-known feature of second-story West Oakland galleries. Transmission, a one-time auto repair shop, now a pristine exhibition space, is no exception. The surprise is that Eva Bovenzi’s paintings, collages and drawings seem to supply more of it than already suffuses this upstairs room, located on an ungentrified block of Grand Avenue. The title of her show, Just Look, may, at first, feel a bit pushy, but it accurately describes what anyone subject to the allure of nonobjective painting will do voluntarily.
These influences aren’t manifest literally. They’re spiritual aids that enable the artist to inhabit a pre-modern mindset, one in which she can view her own apocalyptic concerns in a larger historical context. They center, appropriately, on nature. Pervasive wing shapes, for example, invite comparison to the insects and birds seen at the artist’s Colorado summer home; the hovering, all-seeing eyes to those found in tribal art, Symbolism and Surrealism. There are many fine example of each. My favorites, among the former, are those that abstractly portray dragonflies a way that makes them ambiguous enough to also be read as angels, a longstanding subject of Bovenzi’s. Of the eye paintings, The Bluest Eye, a vertically arrayed group of floating orbs, and Don’t Blink, which positions two eyes, side-by-side, stand out.