Local Art Gallery’s Environmental Focus

What: Jon Kerpel’s Earth Jewels Exhibit
Where: Redux Studios & Gallery
Where: 2315 Lincoln Ave.
When: Through April 8, 2012

Alameda artist Jon Kerpel is displaying his environmentally themed artwork at Redux, a studio and set of galleries run by St. Vincent de Paul on Lincoln Avenue that highlights creative reuse and recycling.

“I’m privileged to have gotten this show, which includes 12 sculptures I’ve done in the past 12 months,” said Kerpel. “The temples and 30-plus other pieces on display are made of objects I’ve picked up at St. Vincent de Paul’s facility in East Oakland and elsewhere.”

Kerpel takes discarded materials and transforms them into colorful, challenging mixed-media creations. His work has been shown on this Island at the Alameda Main Library, Autobody Fine Art and Rhythmix Cultural Works, as well as in a show organized by the Oakland Museum of California and at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley.

“I found a great cabinet on a street in the East End near where I live,” said the artist, “and it became the base for the Sea Cathedral piece.”

For his themes, Kerpel turns to the natural world, building his temple-like creations in honor of polar bears, whales, lions, tigers and other beasts. “They’re all very precious, and people don’t always focus enough on them. My work is about affirmation and protecting the environment for the sake of our survival,” Kerpel said.

While the environment guides Kerpel’s themes, the work and lives of artists like Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti and clothing designer Ralph Lauren influence his methods and creativity, as well.

“This is the fourth show we’re having in our alternative space,” said Chris Rummell, the creative reuse and recycling manager for Redux and St. Vincent de Paul in Alameda County. “When I saw what Jon was doing in his studio I was very impressed, and we took it from there. It’s a very good collaboration.”

For school volunteer Pam Chang, the results of the artist’s effort is “mesmerizing.” “I saw it in the library and had to come in [to Redux],” she said. “It’s so tactile and beautiful. Plus, there’s the environmental theme for to appreciate.”

Kerpel’s show, Earth Jewels, will be on display at Redux, 2315 Lincoln Ave., through April 8. Redux is also hosting bee-keeping and upholstery workshops in March. See the gallery’s website for more details.

Janet Levaux