Alameda Artist Part of Berkeley Show

Alameda artist Jon Kerpel is part of new art show being presented from September 16 to December 2 at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave., in Berkeley. The show, entitled “Animals and Pets We Cherish,” will host its opening celebration from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring music by Sallie Hannah Rhyne on keyboard and Dave Topham on trumpet.

A pet adoption will also take place in the sculpture garden, and refreshments will be served.

“Animals and Pets We Cherish ” focuses attention on what can be done to save vanishing animals and protect pets from extinction. Sales of artwork from the show will help support the gallery’s planned donation to the East Bay SPCA.

(Friday-night literature, poetry readings and open mike will take place from 7–9 p.m. On September 16, performers are Judy Bebelaar, Gail Newman and Fernando D. Castro, while Joie Cook and Richard Loranger are set to appear on October 21.)

Alameda-based Kerpel turns discarded objects into challenging mixed-media creations. And, recently, his popular green-themed works were shown at an office building in downtown Oakland for a show organized by the Oakland Museum of California.

Kerpel had his show “Earth Temples” in Alameda in October 2010, and previously his work has appeared at Autobody Fine Art and Rhythmix Cultural Works.

The artist, a native of New York, came to the Bay Area in 1982, after studying at the School of Visual Arts in Brooklyn. He’s worked for years as a handyman, which has taught him “how to make things … and how to dumpster dive,” he joked during an interview. “I see the value in many things that shouldn’t be thrown away.”

Kerpel picks up lamps, lanterns, wood signs, frames and wide assortment of objects for his creations for free or for a low price by shopping online. He also scouts out local flea markets on a regular basis.

The artist draws many of his themes from the news and civilization’s impact on the environment. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, inspired him to make “Gulf Waters.”

“My message is about the environment and what we’re doing to it. I feel intensely about what is happening, and so I make temples and shrines to memorialize what’s going on,” Kerpel explained. “This is history, and people need to know that we’re not going in the right direction when it comes to our stewardship of the planet.”

Janet Levaux