On The Edge
BY KRISTA REID-MCLAUGHLIN
On the edge of Linden Street cozied up to the railroad tracks, Sits a brick building that bridges the continents and offers us a world of expression rarely accessible in the USA. Pacific Bridge Contemporary South East Asian Art is a gallery whose mission is to focus the American eye on the artistic subtleties of the often marginalized societies of Southeast Asia as well as to expand the repertoire of the artist on American soil. Co-founders Geoff Dorn and Beth Gates sponsor artists-in-residence for varying periods of time. The goal is to create a forum of cultural exchange. The viewer meets the artist behind the art and the artist can experience a new reality that may influence them or allow them to establish their identity in a world so different from their own. Geoff and Beth not only work in this gallery, but they live here as well.
The first floor of this 3,000square-foot site is dedicated to the art. The walls are concrete -covered brick so barren of detail that the artwork can't help but stand out. The ceiling is high and the track lighting is concentrated, allowing the natural light to swim through the room softly touching each piece of art. Oddly, the centerpiece of the room is not a' piece of art--one that's for sale at least. It is the plumber-piped, construction- grated, wood-stepped staircase that ascends into the ceiling.
At the top of the staircase, hanging from the ceiling beams, is an oversized multi-colored frog plucked from a Rose Parade Boat of years past. The second floor is an expansive room that combine & the office, living room, dining room and kitchen. Each area is an eclectic mix of South East Asian fabrics, wood-carved furniture and finds from Urban Ore (the salvage yard on San Pablo Avenue). On the walls hang pieces from visiting artists and the floors are dark planks of the original warehouse wood sanded down and evened out. The rumble of the trains and the faint sounding of their horns remind you that the old-style windows in new frames look out' over the railroad tracks and the largest steel recycling mill in California. The dining room leads into the artist-in-residence loft, which is accessed by a wood ladder and sleeps three. The loft is kept private by a series of old window frames screwed into the halfwall frame that encases the loft.
From the loft you can see the kitchen with its light wood cabinets and hand-crafted island. The island is a refuge for old drawers from Urban Ore stained cherry colored anew, and ground down painted wood. The island and loft create a hallway, which ends in a bathroom and bedroom. The bedroom has an old fire door as a wall and an old window set into the brick. The room is decorated with rich blue Asian fabrics and dark wood furniture. Across the way is the bathroom with a spectacular Urban Ore door that Geoff took a grinder to, peeling off several layers of paint to create a swirled, almost Aztec-like pattern.
Pacific Bridge Contemporary South East Asian Art opened its doors at 95 Linden St. in March of 998 and after a few bumps and baybles has found its groove. They re gaining international recognition for their exhibitions and have launched www.asianartnow.com, where visitors can view past and current work as well as read about the artists themselves.
Pacific Bridge Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, 95 Linden Street #6, Oakland CA 94607
Tel. (510) 45I - 8840 Fax. (510) 45I - 8806 email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 am - 6 pm.