Katherine Sherwood: "Healers from the Yelling Clinic"

Katherine Sherwood's characters are semi-abstract medical specialists with such names as Neuron Nurse, Mansur Healer, and Dr. Speech. Each one is depicted in a triptych, with a squarish painting at the top, a bigger painting for the midsection, and then an intricate, full-length skirt. The figures are towering and imposing, with three of them reaching 8 feet high. At first glance, they seem to be freaks of nature. Some have brains staring out from their heads. Some display roots, tentacles, and brains below their necks. For the exhibit, Sherwood, a UC Berkeley professor who suffered a stroke in 1997 that changed the way she created art, tweaks her more recent style of painting, ratcheting up the dimensions. Don't be scared. It's as if she gives us X-ray vision to see the figures' top halves. Through the maze of squiggly lines and strange blobs, you can detect on one of them a wide smile, on lips that are red and luminous.

 
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