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Chris Miles: Anything Can Happen

March 16 - April 8


All are welcome to join us for the Artist’s Talk, Saturday, March 18th starting at 2 pm.

Our regular gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5pm and open till 8 pm the First Friday of the month for Oakland Art Murmur’s famous First Friday Art Walks.

Transmission Gallery presents a solo exhibition of paintings by Chris Miles exploring fantastical moments. Frida Kahlo plays cards with Death and a cop, cows launch into thunderstorms, cat and mouse reach heaven together… Anything Can Happen.

“Anything Can Happen” is the prevailing motif of Magical Realism, a term applied to art that combines elements of myth or fantasy with realism to convey mysterious and dream-like moments. First emerging as a term coined by Franz Roh in the German Expressionism movement of the 1920’s the phrase was ascribed to works that were fantastical, entrancing and often disturbing. As New York’s Museum of Modern Art put it some years later, “Magic Realists try to convince us that extraordinary things are possible simply by painting them as if they existed.” This is certainly the case with Chris Miles. Like other practitioners in the rich history of Magical Realism, Miles delves into the realm of archetypes, symbology, and imaginary tableaus to create fantastical scenes that resonate with a certain charm and mystery.

Historically, several well-known painters have occupied the territory of Magical Realism. Most immediately coming to mind are the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, whose haunting compositions evoke trancelike experiences, and Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo whose work popularized Mexican mysticism and motifs.

Closely related to Surrealism, Magical Realism is less aligned with internal personal dream visions, and more attuned to a shared “reality” embracing the subconscious cultural imagery that emerges from literature, psychology, and religion. In this series of paintings, even pervasive emblems of American childhood pop-culture and imagery evoking uniquely Bay Area legends resonate with sincerity and affection. Note the Shadow characters, the personifications of Good, and the attending Familiars in the grand journeys of life.

Miles further embraces the Magical Realist tradition through his use of improbable lighting effects. Emanating from a mysterious source, radiant light casts strong shadows, illuminating protagonists, heroes, and muses with an otherworldly glow that adds to a sense enchanted discomfort.


March 16
April 8
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Transmission Gallery
(510) 835-2626
View Organizer Website


Transmission Gallery
770 West Grand Ave., Suite A
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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(510) 835-2626
View Venue Website