Hazy figures walk towards the viewer in John Wentz's new series of oil paintings, their faces muddled as if conjured from some distant memory or last night's dream. His solo show "Passages," opening alongside Mike Davis's "A Blind Man's Journey" (see our recent studio visit with Davis here), is set to debut at San Francisco's 111 Minna Gallery on October 3. Wentz's work is optimally experienced in person. Playing with new textures, he steers his figurative paintings further into abstract territory, breaking down bodies into their basic components and exaggerating the ways light dances on them. Wentz deliberately calls attention to the paint itself, allowing pigments to bubble and burst and scraping away fine lines with a pencil. The results are disorienting and poignant, reminding us of the ways our own memories can be distorted and altered.