Food for Thought

The Savannah Gallery's space is killer, the on-site parking is a nice perk and many of the individual works are top-notch. But its thematic shows continue to be vaguely packaged. One gets the sense that curators choose ideas so catchall, they can do a comprehensive survey of what SCAD alumni and faculty are up to (often including themselves in the equation, as curators Fred Jesser and Sarah Walko do here).

The loose concept for Reorder is artists examining and then repackaging the world according to their own unique vision. By that criteria, every artist on the planet seems ripe for inclusion. Luckily, there is enough good work on display to make for a relatively engaging show, from Nathan Abels' abstract renderings of parking garage architecture to Craig Drennen's tantalizing trompe l'oeil investigations of what is real and what is illusion.

What the exhibition does with some success is highlight the peculiar, singular vision of artists who are so often masters of making the ordinary features of the world extraordinary, or at least worthy of our attention. Artists are like a race of Supermen and women whose X-ray vision cuts through dross and distractions to get at the juicy uncooked center that is the base around which we order our lives.

A wonderful case in point is the straightforward, even routine, but highly imaginative flaying artist Sandra Burke does of ordinary household appliances. In "Kitchen Help," objects like an electric knife have been stripped of their exterior trappings to reveal their menacing guts. And in "Women Work," the "labor" of gorgeousness is humorously conveyed in a stripped-down curling iron and hot rollers. The work is a great way for the show's curators to illuminate the artistic sensibility as a desire to look within and eviscerate the known world.

Art-making as its own kind of idiosyncratic assembly line is grossly and effectively conveyed in David Howe's "A Meditation on Aversion," in which rows of jelly jars are filled with a pulpy substance the color of canned pineapple. The work is concise, visceral and a great rendering of artistic process.

The jars' contents? Peeled, chewed and spit fruit.


Reorder runs through July 30 at Savannah Gallery, 3096 Roswell Road. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 404-816-0247. www.thesavannahgallery.com.??

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