Lucid Culture


Art Review: More Good Stuff in Chelsea

One of these days, sooner than later, we have to get to galleryland right when the doors open and go for broke til the eyes get jaded just as they will if you try to do the entire Met in a single day. So much good stuff here. Our latest discovery is at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts where there is a particularly timely exhibit of Louisiana artists running through March 8. Jacqueline Bishop has a series of intensely gripping surrealist oils on display. Everything is caught in a net, as if behind barbwire. Fishes, birds and plants are trapped together, some wide-eyed as if startled to be snared so easily. In one particularly disturbing painting, a fetus and a fetal pig lie side by side on what could be hay. Or it could be something far more menacing.

Raine Bedsole has a fixation with boats, and her big, oblong oil depicting a big barge through the mist gives the viewer pause: is it on the ocean, or did it wash up during the hurricane? Mary Jane Parker also has some very captivating work here, encaustic on panel, juxtaposing green, young twigs, buds and flowers against a shadowy background to create an eerie sense of enclosure.

The Allen Sheppard Gallery moved down here from a side street in the Flower District a few years ago and since then  has really taken it to the next level: a stop here is an absolute must if you’re in the neighborhood. Right now there’s a haunting, stormy cloudscape from Zaria Forman’s Cloud Series, a particularly apropos work for the era of global warming. Grace Mitchell has a few excellent, luminous, nebulously blue and green-tinged glazed oils, perhaps a mountaintop through mist. And there are two pointillistically-enhanced acrylics from Elizabeth Knowles, on which the crew here is divided. Our rigorously art-schooled, working painter thinks they’re blatant Pollock ripoffs, the visual equivalent of Britney Spears; our low-frequency music guy, who can’t draw to save his life, thinks they’re fun and playful. You be the judge.

And as always, Jim Kempner has an abundance of excellent work on display in the current group show, “People,” which runs through February 23 and will alternately make you laugh and scowl. Or scream. On the top floor, there’s a series of hilarious, politically charged, black-and-white mugshots – we’re not going to give away the joke – along with a very funny portrait of Monica Lewinsky. There’s also a laugh-out-loud cartoon depicting Christo’s recent Central Park exhibit, with viewer commentary. On the gallery’s lower level, there are two narrative paintings containing eyewitness accounts of the conditions at Abu Graib prison from innocent Iraqis who ended up there, something every American should be required to see.

February 11, 2008 - Posted by | Art, Reviews

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the info

    Comment by Sarah Elizabeth | February 11, 2008 | Reply

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