image

Jenkins Johnson Gallery: "There is No Alas Where I Live," one of two early winter exhibitions here, is a free-ranging photography show that takes its title from a poem by Theodore Roethke. Curator Ann Jastrab, former director of Rayko Gallery, focuses on the work of nine Bay Area photographers including Wesaam Al-Badry's pictures of the Mississippi Delta; the devastated but not defeated victims amidst the ruins of Hurricane Katrina in Lewis Watts' New Orleans Suite; and the painterly compositions of Johanna Case-Hofmeister, who captures the languid waning days of endless summer in giant chromogenic mural prints, produced with a large-format camera. People are seamlessly integrated into her lush, color landscapes, like the young woman in striped bathing shorts with her back to the camera, leaning over an inner tube on the edge of a lake ("Ariel in Quarry") or the unadulterated joy of a pair of adolescent girls floating in the water. (Through Jan. 27.)

 

The photographic collages of Deborah Roberts probe and deconstruct the fractured identity of black girls and women, and the myths projected onto them by society and a legacy of prejudice. Confronting and up-ending image-making by pop culture purveyors and art historians, the artist cuts, alters and reconfigures found and manipulated photographs – built with images of famous, barely recognizable figures such as Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem – and combines them with drawings and paintings. In layering portraits of naive, promising, eight to 10-year-old girls, Roberts challenges prevailing myths and damaging, de-humanizing stereotypes, reconstructing black female identity on her own terms, with enlightening, sometimes disconcerting results. (Feb. 1-March 17; jenkinsjohnsongallery.com.)