In January, three young men paid tribute to their very good mother by opening a new Oakland art gallery named for her, and she proudly watched as gobs of people flocked to her sons’ art space on opening night.
Oakland’s art scene has expanded for the last several years since the launch of Oakland Art Murmur, and while a few staples have stuck, many galleries have come and gone. Tired Hands, the inaugural exhibit at Good Mother Gallery on 13th St. between Franklin and Broadway, proves the promising new space has a fighting chance.
Conceived by three artists, brothers Ian and Jared Jethmal, and their honorary brother, Calvin Wong, Good Mother’s first show features paintings, photos and mixed-media work from their favorite artists, hung expertly, salon style, on two floors.
“We've all individually been involved in the art scene in Oakland and San Francisco for a while, and we've all worked in different galleries," Ian Jethmal says, explaining the desire to open a new space. "Although things are flourishing in a lot of ways, collectively, we agree that things are also becoming very stagnant and repetitive. We felt that opening our own place was the best way to put out shows that we want to see.”
Beyond regular art shows, the trio also plan workshops and events to involve and support the community. And they have good taste: Tired Hands features a range of international artists, with solid representation from beloved Bay Area artists like Apex, Alicia McCarthy, Jason Jägel and Michelle Fleck. The show's generational representation is diverse, and one can recognize the influence of local artists who came up in the ‘90s on artists who were born in the ‘90s. They’re all on the wall, side by side.
It’s not easy to make a group show of over 50 artists look cohesive, but somehow this group magically gelled for the launch of the gallery -- a labor of love that required some serious elbow grease. Good Mother’s interior was built by older brother DJ Assan Jethmal and friends who supported the new gallery’s quest. When they first acquired the space, it was crummy with low ceilings, and they completely transformed it into a welcoming, custom-made gallery with a bar, a DJ loft and plenty of space for art and visitors. (Their landlord allowed any changes, so long as they wouldn’t bother the barbershop next door.)
During a time when communities are clashing and arts organizations are folding, Good Mother is a shiny beam of hopeful light, and it’s just half a block from the 12th Street BART station. Tired Hands is replaced by a second group show, featuring over 50 international artists, which opens on March 6, 2015.