Two-wheeled inspiration

Sue Tongren, “Bicycle,” acrylic on canvas.

Sue Tongren, “Bicycle,” acrylic on canvas.

Coinciding with Lance Armstrong’s seventh and (so he claims) final Tour de France victory, the Exploding Head Gallery pays homage to the two-wheeled chariot with the group exhibition The Art of the Bicycle. Although the show is up until August 27, the best time to check out this exhibit is during Second Saturday, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. That’s when the gallery’s “Holes in the Head” will be open for all to see.

When you walk into the gallery, you can easily miss the three equally spaced, 10-inch fire holes in the floor that once allowed hoses to connect to underground faucets. A year ago, local painter Patrick Marasso came up with the concept of putting an installation in the basement that is almost as long as the gallery upstairs. Since April, Marasso and two other artists, John Lennertz and Jennifer Rarick, have pulled the fire-hole lids every Second Saturday, put in Plexiglas covers and done some kind of installation to coincide with the art exhibit above.

“In this society, we don’t like to bend down,” Marasso observed. “But with this, you’re forced to bend down.” That is, if you want to see what all the commotion is about.

For The Art of the Bicycle, “Holes in the Head” will incorporate sound. “We’ll have a performance down there,” Marasso revealed. “We’re working with my brother doing live music, playing sounds off a vintage bike.”

Upstairs, silhouettes of cyclists race around the invisible track inside a porcelain bowl by Brad Menninga in “Velodrome.” Bikes posed outside a French store window contrast with the shiny, ruby-colored men’s boogie shoes holding center stage inside in Lynn Marlow’s “Red Shoes and Bicycles, Paris.” You’ll have to visit the gallery, located at 924 12th Street, this Saturday to find out what’s happening in the Head’s other holes. For more information, call (916) 442-8424.