Aggregate Space Gallery Specializes in Installation

Immerse yourself in art at Aggregate Space Gallery.


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Conrad Meyers and S.D. Willis, left, displayed Terry Peterson’s Old Growth, a kinetic sculpture that’s part mad scientist and part sacred space.

Photos by Ramona d’Viola

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Pink golf balls drop from Mason jars, sounding like a gentle game of pingpong. Bells chime, and a soft whir, emulating a breeze, can be heard as you walk into the converted warehouse and art gallery, Aggregate Space Gallery.

Terry Peterson’s exhibition Old Growth makes you feel as if you are walking into a tomb, as you are surrounded by relics of his Mendocino childhood. There are work gloves preserved in jars of whiskey and a clay trout sculpture. Peterson even has found a way to bring the Yuba River to viewers through his video installation, adding bits of beach sand, redwood, and actual river water all around viewers. His exhibit is like being dropped into a direct portal of his life, and you never feel like you are done exploring; you are captured in the net of his unique experience.

Located on a lonely stretch of West Grand in West Oakland, Aggregate Space is an unexpected surprise. It is a space that houses monthly art exhibitions, a critically acclaimed poetry series, studio spaces, film lectures, workshops, and a fabrication shop. Once inside, you are greeted by an impressive exhibition space: climbing white walls, high ceilings, and just past the main exhibition space, there’s a small theater complete with red velvet seats where video installations are shown. It’s a space where the act of experiencing the art is as important as the art itself.

In 2008, partners S.D. Willis and Conrad Meyers graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with their Master of Fine Arts degrees. As new graduates in a struggling economy, they could find no local opportunities for showing their art installation work. High rents and sound restrictions prohibited them from having their space in San Francisco. They found that West Oakland was affordable, with landlords who were receptive to their proposed floor plans.

“What we love about Oakland compared to San Francisco is that there is this openness to as many galleries as possible,” Meyers said. “Art is not something that is only for people with masters of fine arts degrees.” Willis and Meyers were exposed to incredible work in grad school, and they wanted to expose larger audiences to art installations and to inspire dialogue, challenge the viewer, and make the audience a participant in the work.

The couple moved to Oakland in 2010, and built the gallery out of the warehouse space themselves. With the help of local artists and friends, they opened Aggregate Space Gallery in 2011.

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