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Visual Arts

Visual Arts


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The merest whiffs of pencil on paper, Ben Smith's frail drawings resemble costume sketches for some unsettling stage production: elderly Asian men ride turtles, The Seventh Seal clowns confront the Grim Reaper. In "Off Into the Distance of Still Waters," Corrina Sephora Mensoff's small works in pen, ink and watercolor are literal studies of a rower in a small boat moving across a lake. Mensoff has turned the series into a video work that seems redundant since the small drawings are already so foreboding.

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An off-the-leash imagination defines artist Benjamin Jones' drawings. Jones' pieces are standouts mostly because they're so head-swimmingly wacko. His signature figures look like baby dolls loved so hard their hair has worn away and their limbs have turned the color of dirty pavement. In two of the more charming pieces, Jones fills visual space with a frenzy of the figures. Bald-headed babies with candy corn teeth and ant-mound bodies repeat on his paper backdrops like wallpaper designed by the neurotic women of Grey Gardens. In a smaller work another baldie, whose face is covered with eyeballs, bares its Chiclets teeth in an unconvincing grimace, like a 5-year-old trying to scare the wits out of you. Like much of the work in Drawing Connections, Jones' piece, called "Horrors" is, in fact, a delight. "
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Some of the work stretches the stylus-to-paper concept. Leslie Kneisel uses embroidery and fabric paint on fabric to create works that most probably wouldn't characterize as drawing if curator Karen Comer Lowe wasn't saying so. Likewise Chung-Fan Chang's paints her graphic neon shapes directly onto the gallery wall in "Zhou's Land." A single drawing in swirling spirograph ballpoint stands apart for its mildly icky but evocative look of curly hair. Kneisel and Chang's inclusion demonstrates that Lowe is clearly interested in testing the boundaries of what we think of as drawing.

The merest whiffs of pencil on paper, Ben Smith's frail drawings resemble costume sketches for some unsettling stage production: elderly Asian men ride turtles, ''The Seventh Seal'' clowns confront the Grim Reaper. In "Off Into the Distance of Still Waters," Corrina Sephora Mensoff's small works in pen, ink and watercolor are literal studies of a rower in a small boat moving across a lake. Mensoff has turned the series into a video work that seems redundant since the small drawings are already so foreboding.

A longtime top-tier Atlanta artist it's good to see back in the game, Kojo Griffin has taken a tonal shift from his drawings of trauma and abuse. In two small but potent works brimming with mystery and a quiet pain, Griffin transforms charcoal and tattoo ink into powerful evocations of a couple grappling with the enormity of existence. In the darkness shrouded "Floating," the couple sits, embracing on the roof of a car surrounded by a maelstrom of floodwaters. Corrine Colarusso's "Drawing at Night" series of ink on black paper drawings suggests visual expressions of ecstatic states but also fireworks, jellyfish floating in a black sea and starry constellations. The pieces explode with compressed energy.

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Some of the work stretches the stylus-to-paper concept. Leslie Kneisel uses embroidery and fabric paint on fabric to create works that most probably wouldn't characterize as drawing if curator Karen Comer Lowe wasn't saying so. Likewise Chung-Fan Chang's paints her graphic neon shapes directly onto the gallery wall in "Zhou's Land." A single drawing in swirling spirograph ballpoint stands apart for its mildly icky but evocative look of curly hair. Kneisel and Chang's inclusion demonstrates that Lowe is clearly interested in testing the boundaries of what we think of as drawing.

The merest whiffs of pencil on paper, Ben Smith's frail drawings resemble costume sketches for some unsettling stage production: elderly Asian men ride turtles, The Seventh Seal clowns confront the Grim Reaper. In "Off Into the Distance of Still Waters," Corrina Sephora Mensoff's small works in pen, ink and watercolor are literal studies of a rower in a small boat moving across a lake. Mensoff has turned the series into a video work that seems redundant since the small drawings are already so foreboding.

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Article

Thursday September 1, 2011 12:00 pm EDT
Drawing Connections capitalizes on the form's low-key charm | more...
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  string(3136) "A vision in Bubble Yum pink, Venezuelan artist Lucha Rodriguez dresses in some shade of Barbie every day. Like an Andy Warhol superstar touched down in Atlanta, the artist extends the fascinations of her artwork to her day-to-day life.

Beyond her sartorial whimsy, Rodriguez has an utterly eccentric point of view. Her visual idiosyncrasies helped snag her the coveted 2010-2011 Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award, an annual grant given to an Atlanta artist without gallery representation and who hasn't had a solo show. The award finalists, whose work can also be seen now at the Swan Coach House Gallery, are an equally accomplished lot: Meg Aubrey, Chung-Fan Chang, Hope Hilton and Dorothy O'Connor. Rodriguez's Forward Arts Foundation solo show Fluoressence is a formally top-notch, idea-rich stew of some of the artist's obsessions, including the body and the aesthetics of sci-fi special effects.

Three-dimensional cut paper forms are Rodriguez's metier. The principally white, ethereal shapes look like bas relief doodles, swirling, looping forms like those paper snowflakes you unfurl from flat to three-dimensional. Rodriguez often uses hot pink on their undersides, which gives the pieces a magical glow, like the undercarriage of a souped-up car lit with neon.

Pink is central to much of Rodriguez's work, the better to emphasize her bodily fixations. Rodriguez's father is a surgeon and it shows in her preoccupation with a color that often suggests guts, sinew and blood. Likewise, her snaking viscera shapes resemble intestines or lung tissue and all the gooey stuff lurking beneath flesh.

In the outlandish installation piece "Mega Melo Creaturette Fluorescente," cut paper forms encircle a gallery wall like a calligraphic cancer. Round the corner and those clouds of lacy paper explode like a tumor spreading beneath the surface. Her cut paper forms have an avidity, a potential to consume and envelope like parasites and pathogens. In another component of "Mega Melo Creaturette Fluorescente," a clear pink plexiglass tube projects from a white tangle of paper like an inflamed tuber. Place an ear to the end of the lewd pink snake, and the dripping of water is audible. The sound element is temperamental and doesn't necessarily add to the piece — the work succeeds when it is merely suggestive of bodily operations.

Much of the work focuses on matter, but a second strain delves into the mind. In larger works such as "Fluorescencia Cuadrangular," spidery paper forms hang like gaseous clouds around plexiglass triangles, rectangles and other graphic monoliths. The works evoke the aesthetics of vintage movie special effects or Pink Floyd album covers, with their floating shapes, prisms and rainbow laser beams. Geeked out but girly, Rodriguez's Zardoz lexicon suggests a femme answer to sci-fi special effects nerds like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

Both frilly and wicked, Rodriguez's work hums with animated energy. But beneath that buzz, Rodriguez tackles heady ideas, of the barriers between outside and in, between the seen world and the hidden ones of the body and the imagination. "
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Both frilly and wicked, Rodriguez's work hums with animated energy. But beneath that buzz, Rodriguez tackles heady ideas, of the barriers between outside and in, between the seen world and the hidden ones of the body and the imagination. "
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  string(3441) "    Artist's Forward Arts Foundation solo show hums with animated energy   2011-08-30T08:00:00+00:00 Lucha Rodriguez spills her guts in Fluoressence   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-08-30T08:00:00+00:00  A vision in Bubble Yum pink, Venezuelan artist Lucha Rodriguez dresses in some shade of Barbie every day. Like an Andy Warhol superstar touched down in Atlanta, the artist extends the fascinations of her artwork to her day-to-day life.

Beyond her sartorial whimsy, Rodriguez has an utterly eccentric point of view. Her visual idiosyncrasies helped snag her the coveted 2010-2011 Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award, an annual grant given to an Atlanta artist without gallery representation and who hasn't had a solo show. The award finalists, whose work can also be seen now at the Swan Coach House Gallery, are an equally accomplished lot: Meg Aubrey, Chung-Fan Chang, Hope Hilton and Dorothy O'Connor. Rodriguez's Forward Arts Foundation solo show Fluoressence is a formally top-notch, idea-rich stew of some of the artist's obsessions, including the body and the aesthetics of sci-fi special effects.

Three-dimensional cut paper forms are Rodriguez's metier. The principally white, ethereal shapes look like bas relief doodles, swirling, looping forms like those paper snowflakes you unfurl from flat to three-dimensional. Rodriguez often uses hot pink on their undersides, which gives the pieces a magical glow, like the undercarriage of a souped-up car lit with neon.

Pink is central to much of Rodriguez's work, the better to emphasize her bodily fixations. Rodriguez's father is a surgeon and it shows in her preoccupation with a color that often suggests guts, sinew and blood. Likewise, her snaking viscera shapes resemble intestines or lung tissue and all the gooey stuff lurking beneath flesh.

In the outlandish installation piece "Mega Melo Creaturette Fluorescente," cut paper forms encircle a gallery wall like a calligraphic cancer. Round the corner and those clouds of lacy paper explode like a tumor spreading beneath the surface. Her cut paper forms have an avidity, a potential to consume and envelope like parasites and pathogens. In another component of "Mega Melo Creaturette Fluorescente," a clear pink plexiglass tube projects from a white tangle of paper like an inflamed tuber. Place an ear to the end of the lewd pink snake, and the dripping of water is audible. The sound element is temperamental and doesn't necessarily add to the piece — the work succeeds when it is merely suggestive of bodily operations.

Much of the work focuses on matter, but a second strain delves into the mind. In larger works such as "Fluorescencia Cuadrangular," spidery paper forms hang like gaseous clouds around plexiglass triangles, rectangles and other graphic monoliths. The works evoke the aesthetics of vintage movie special effects or Pink Floyd album covers, with their floating shapes, prisms and rainbow laser beams. Geeked out but girly, Rodriguez's Zardoz lexicon suggests a femme answer to sci-fi special effects nerds like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

Both frilly and wicked, Rodriguez's work hums with animated energy. But beneath that buzz, Rodriguez tackles heady ideas, of the barriers between outside and in, between the seen world and the hidden ones of the body and the imagination.              13062432 3917404                          Lucha Rodriguez spills her guts in Fluoressence "
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Tuesday August 30, 2011 04:00 am EDT
Artist's Forward Arts Foundation solo show hums with animated energy | more...
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  string(3210) "There's nothing to set the heart racing like undiscovered talent. It's the art world version of Christmas morning, a chance to tear open that new present under the tree. Emerging artist shows are one of the go-to pleasures of working in an industry filled with the promise of an exciting new vision and different point of view; the next Radcliffe Bailey or Paper Twins coming down the pike.

With all of that anticipation, Emerging Artists 2011 at Dunwoody's Spruill Gallery is a bit like getting a lovely argyle sweater when you really wanted a bike: practical, but it doesn't take your breath away. And while much of the work from this diverse crop of University of Georgia, SCAD, Georgia State University and various art school and school of life grads is promising and technically proficient, there's a certain thrill factor missing, a sense of envelopes being pushed and aesthetic rabble-rousing.

There are highlights to be sure. Rex Brodie's curlicue, kinetic sculptures bend plywood into cascades of looping, slender tendrils that erupt in the gallery space. Suggesting three-dimensional calligraphy or the Pow! Kazam! Bam! declarations of a D.C. comic, the work is best when it fills the gallery's front room or hovers in a gallery nook like a curl of smoke from a recent explosion.

Brodie's works, with their simple blond wood color palette, are an aesthetic kissing cousin to An Pham's visually pared back, almost monochromatic pieces. Pham's notable body of work also employs simple materials — handmade paper, rubber bands, books — to create elegant, otherworldly creatures and austere paper sculptures. Like jellyfish or some strange sea beast washed up onto the shore, Pham's crocheted rubber-band braids and office supply sea anemones signal weirdness and wildness. But the presentation in fussy Container Store-type boxes suggests a desire for control that doesn't always best serve the artist's yearning-to-be-free creatures.

There are fascinating crossovers in much of the work, including a desire for order, as well as an interest in regular-guy materials like plywood, markers, screws and spray paint. Seth Keaveny, for instance, creates beguiling objects that straddle a line between artwork and furniture. His crisp, exacting medleys of plywood and fiberboard suggest IKEA one-stop shopping. Keaveny's "Rib Series #2," for instance, with its wooden armature and glass top, would fit right in among the Swedish retailer's coffee tables.

A refreshing show of insanity, spunk and visual panache within a relatively staid show, the showstopper amid a group of short films presented by local community arts organization WonderRoot is Aaron Keuter and Ashley Anderson's utterly loopy, frenzied "XxxxCuzx Me." Suggesting Peter Max '60s psychedelia mixed with the rude electronic pings of an '80s video game, the film is an animated riot set to an equally manic Crystal Castles soundtrack. Birds, bugs, ducks and unidentifiable bits and pieces explode on the screen before folding back into themselves like a flower blooming in reverse. If anything suggests the boundless promise of experimentation, a metaphor for the emerging artist, it's this demented, gorgeous thrill ride of a film. "
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With all of that anticipation, ''Emerging Artists 2011'' at Dunwoody's Spruill Gallery is a bit like getting a lovely argyle sweater when you really wanted a bike: practical, but it doesn't take your breath away. And while much of the work from this diverse crop of University of Georgia, SCAD, Georgia State University and various art school and school of life grads is promising and technically proficient, there's a certain thrill factor missing, a sense of envelopes being pushed and aesthetic rabble-rousing.

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With all of that anticipation, Emerging Artists 2011 at Dunwoody's Spruill Gallery is a bit like getting a lovely argyle sweater when you really wanted a bike: practical, but it doesn't take your breath away. And while much of the work from this diverse crop of University of Georgia, SCAD, Georgia State University and various art school and school of life grads is promising and technically proficient, there's a certain thrill factor missing, a sense of envelopes being pushed and aesthetic rabble-rousing.

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Friday August 12, 2011 12:00 pm EDT
Thrill factor missing from group showing of fresh up-and-comers | more...

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"I personally enjoy the relaxed gallery environment they have cultivated and the fact that Beep Beep is a place where an artist wants to hang out," says Ann-Marie Manker, one of the artists featured in the gallery's anniversary exhibition Me/We. "The two of them are in it to help build an art scene more than building a business," says Manker.

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Me/We exemplifies the duo's eagerness to give artists new challenges and the audience another way to engage. A variation on the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse game, in Me/We one artist begins a work that a second artist completes. The 14 finished works are, not surprisingly, occasionally schizophrenic and just as frequently inspired. Working in a graphic, arresting style, Sarah Daly and Nathan Phaneuf offer two high points. The pair creates both gritty and seductive cityscapes, where hulking buildings loom against a chartreuse horizon and birds fly against a dystopian charcoal sky.

Alex Kvares moves outside of his usual regimen of precise, obsessive pencil marks thanks to a nudge from Mike Germon. Germon lays the groundwork with a pithy collage of magazine images that Kvares' hellfire sensibility juices into a Cecil B. DeMille epic of religion, sex and spectacle. Most of the collaborations intensify and animate static images to create a sense of psychological complexity. Artists tend to be an onanistic lot and Me/We nudges unhealthy quiet time into mutually satisfying lovemaking. In Sat Kirpal Khalsa and Bryan Ramey's collaboration, Garcia's image of a brooding upright cheetah in a jacket and tie is joined by Ramey's vaporous, sexy woman — a human curl of smoke — draped around his shoulders like something from a vintage Benson & Hedges ad. Manker likewise adds a Sapphic twist to a Joe Tsambiras drawing of a plaintive young woman accessorized by what could be construed as her lover offering a Mona Lisa glance out at her voyeuristic viewers.

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Alex Kvares moves outside of his usual regimen of precise, obsessive pencil marks thanks to a nudge from Mike Germon. Germon lays the groundwork with a pithy collage of magazine images that Kvares' hellfire sensibility juices into a Cecil B. DeMille epic of religion, sex and spectacle. Most of the collaborations intensify and animate static images to create a sense of psychological complexity. Artists tend to be an onanistic lot and ''Me/We'' nudges unhealthy quiet time into mutually satisfying lovemaking. In Sat Kirpal Khalsa and Bryan Ramey's collaboration, Garcia's image of a brooding upright cheetah in a jacket and tie is joined by Ramey's vaporous, sexy woman — a human curl of smoke — draped around his shoulders like something from a vintage Benson & Hedges ad. Manker likewise adds a Sapphic twist to a Joe Tsambiras drawing of a plaintive young woman accessorized by what could be construed as her lover offering a Mona Lisa glance out at her voyeuristic viewers.

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Five years ago, Basehore and McConnell were the new kids on their relatively grotty block of Charles Allen Drive and Ponce de Leon Avenue. Now? "We're the man," laughs McConnell. "No, the woman," clarifies Basehore, in their back and forth finish-each-other's-sentences repartee. McConnell is the imp with the wisecrack at the ready and Basehore a bastion of good-natured calm that speaks to his one-time desire to become a minister. In a remarkably short time, Basehore and McConnell's gallery has made a distinct impact on the Atlanta art scene, offering both a place for predominately local artists to hock their wares and a distinct point of view, "somewhere between a celebration of the ecstatic and a psychedelic vision," says McConnell.

"I personally enjoy the relaxed gallery environment they have cultivated and the fact that Beep Beep is a place where an artist wants to hang out," says Ann-Marie Manker, one of the artists featured in the gallery's anniversary exhibition Me/We. "The two of them are in it to help build an art scene more than building a business," says Manker.

With each passing year Beep Beep has become a little more rooted in the city's art firmament. In addition to running Beep Beep, the pair founded the annual alt-art fest Artlantis, and this year incubated the public art series Four Coats Mural Project at four gallery locations around the city.

Me/We exemplifies the duo's eagerness to give artists new challenges and the audience another way to engage. A variation on the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse game, in Me/We one artist begins a work that a second artist completes. The 14 finished works are, not surprisingly, occasionally schizophrenic and just as frequently inspired. Working in a graphic, arresting style, Sarah Daly and Nathan Phaneuf offer two high points. The pair creates both gritty and seductive cityscapes, where hulking buildings loom against a chartreuse horizon and birds fly against a dystopian charcoal sky.

Alex Kvares moves outside of his usual regimen of precise, obsessive pencil marks thanks to a nudge from Mike Germon. Germon lays the groundwork with a pithy collage of magazine images that Kvares' hellfire sensibility juices into a Cecil B. DeMille epic of religion, sex and spectacle. Most of the collaborations intensify and animate static images to create a sense of psychological complexity. Artists tend to be an onanistic lot and Me/We nudges unhealthy quiet time into mutually satisfying lovemaking. In Sat Kirpal Khalsa and Bryan Ramey's collaboration, Garcia's image of a brooding upright cheetah in a jacket and tie is joined by Ramey's vaporous, sexy woman — a human curl of smoke — draped around his shoulders like something from a vintage Benson & Hedges ad. Manker likewise adds a Sapphic twist to a Joe Tsambiras drawing of a plaintive young woman accessorized by what could be construed as her lover offering a Mona Lisa glance out at her voyeuristic viewers.

Me/We is classic Beep Beep: a little rough around the edges, but ambitious and boding of more good things to come.

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Article

Tuesday August 9, 2011 06:00 am EDT
Co-founders James McConnell and Mark Basehore celebrate with collaborative exhibit Me/We | more...
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  string(2242) "Atlanta's emerging art scene continues to grow, which means lots of new faces at this year's Gather Atlanta. Check out the 2011 Gather Atlanta newbies below.

Dance CanvasLocal dance company that provides a forum for emerging choreographers.

Full Radius Dance
Dance company that focuses on highlighting attitudes toward disabilities.

Streetela
Shop and blog that features the artwork of independent graphic designers, graffiti writers, street artists.

AM 1690 (WMLB)
The Voice of the Arts. This radio station covers just about everything on the cultural spectrum in Atlanta.

The Creatives Project
Started as a project by snapster Neda Abghari to photograph artists and musicians in Atlanta, TCP now includes several broader community outreach programs like the Creative Community Housing Project.

The Collective Project
This multidiscipline group exists, as the name implies, solely to nurture collaborations between artists.

Atlanta Art Now
Biennial publication by Possible Futures Inc. that links contemporary art in Atlanta to broader conversations about contemporary art around the world.

gloATL
Part choreography and part interactive art installation, Glo performances regularly bridge the gap between artists and audience.

Twinhead Theatre
GSU-born nonprofit group presents films, plays and other random acts of performance.

The Goat Farm
If you've RSVP'd to a Facebook invitation in the last year there's a good chance the event was taking place at this sprawling Westside multipurpose venue. (Someone build them a damn website already.)

Brooks and Company Dance
More dancers! These modern dance guys and gals work with students in schools, address political issues and dancers with Parkinson's.

Art on the Atlanta Beltline
Seriously, you need us to tell you what Art on the BeltLine is? Yeah right.

Zoetic Dance Ensemble
These Best of Atlanta winners do all kinds of fancy dance stuff, too. (OK, we're running out of different ways to describe dance companies here.)

Lucky Penny
Dance Truck's Malina Rodriguez and Blake Beckham recently founded this new dance production company.

Young Foxy & Free
Free quarterly magazine featuring art, photography, music, fashion and designs by local creatives from Athens and Atlanta."
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__[http://dancecanvas.com|Dance Canvas]__Local dance company that provides a forum for emerging choreographers.

__[http://www.fullradiusdance.org|Full Radius Dance]__
Dance company that focuses on highlighting attitudes toward disabilities.

__[http://www.streetela.com/|Streetela]__
Shop and blog that features the artwork of independent graphic designers, graffiti writers, street artists.

[http://1690wmlb.com/|__AM 1690 (WMLB)__]
The Voice of the Arts. This radio station covers just about everything on the cultural spectrum in Atlanta.

__[http://thecreativesproject.org|The Creatives Project]__
Started as a project by snapster Neda Abghari to photograph artists and musicians in Atlanta, TCP now includes several broader community outreach programs like the Creative Community Housing Project.

__[http://www.thecollectiveprojectinc.com|The Collective Project]__
This multidiscipline group exists, as the name implies, solely to nurture collaborations between artists.

__''[http://www.atlantaartnow.com/|Atlanta Art Now]''__
Biennial publication by Possible Futures Inc. that links contemporary art in Atlanta to broader conversations about contemporary art around the world.

__[http://www.gloatl.com|gloATL]__
Part choreography and part interactive art installation, Glo performances regularly bridge the gap between artists and audience.

__[http://www.twinheadtheatre.org|Twinhead Theatre]__
GSU-born nonprofit group presents films, plays and other random acts of performance.

__The Goat Farm__
If you've RSVP'd to a Facebook invitation in the last year there's a good chance the event was taking place at this sprawling Westside multipurpose venue. (Someone build them a damn website already.)

__[http://www.brooksandcompanydance.org|Brooks and Company Dance]__
More dancers! These modern dance guys and gals work with students in schools, address political issues and dancers with Parkinson's.

__[http://art.beltline.org|Art on the Atlanta Beltline]__
Seriously, you need us to tell you what Art on the BeltLine is? Yeah right.

__[http://www.zoeticdance.org/|Zoetic Dance Ensemble]__
These Best of Atlanta winners do all kinds of fancy dance stuff, too. (OK, we're running out of different ways to describe dance companies here.)

__[http://www.theluckypennyatl.blogspot.com/|Lucky Penny]__
Dance Truck's Malina Rodriguez and Blake Beckham recently founded this new dance production company.

__''[http://youngfoxyfree.com/|Young Foxy & Free]''__
Free quarterly magazine featuring art, photography, music, fashion and designs by local creatives from Athens and Atlanta."
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Full Radius Dance
Dance company that focuses on highlighting attitudes toward disabilities.

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Shop and blog that features the artwork of independent graphic designers, graffiti writers, street artists.

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The Voice of the Arts. This radio station covers just about everything on the cultural spectrum in Atlanta.

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Started as a project by snapster Neda Abghari to photograph artists and musicians in Atlanta, TCP now includes several broader community outreach programs like the Creative Community Housing Project.

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This multidiscipline group exists, as the name implies, solely to nurture collaborations between artists.

Atlanta Art Now
Biennial publication by Possible Futures Inc. that links contemporary art in Atlanta to broader conversations about contemporary art around the world.

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Part choreography and part interactive art installation, Glo performances regularly bridge the gap between artists and audience.

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GSU-born nonprofit group presents films, plays and other random acts of performance.

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If you've RSVP'd to a Facebook invitation in the last year there's a good chance the event was taking place at this sprawling Westside multipurpose venue. (Someone build them a damn website already.)

Brooks and Company Dance
More dancers! These modern dance guys and gals work with students in schools, address political issues and dancers with Parkinson's.

Art on the Atlanta Beltline
Seriously, you need us to tell you what Art on the BeltLine is? Yeah right.

Zoetic Dance Ensemble
These Best of Atlanta winners do all kinds of fancy dance stuff, too. (OK, we're running out of different ways to describe dance companies here.)

Lucky Penny
Dance Truck's Malina Rodriguez and Blake Beckham recently founded this new dance production company.

Young Foxy & Free
Free quarterly magazine featuring art, photography, music, fashion and designs by local creatives from Athens and Atlanta.             13061854 3798628                          Gather Atlanta's newest participants "
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Wednesday August 3, 2011 04:00 am EDT
New faces mix with old favorites at the 2011 event | more...
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  string(4651) "In recent years, local art-goers have been getting beaucoup chances to kill more birds with fewer stones. Festivals like Artlantis rally galleries and artists from all over the city onto one patch of grass. Geographically based unions of spaces like the Westside Arts District, Castleberry Hill Art Stroll and Ponce Crush invite patrons to traverse neighborhoods, turning disparate gallery openings into whole evening, multi-stop events. The motivation for such efforts is pretty easy to suss out: band together to share patronage and ignite further enthusiasm for the arts.

Throw in the hyped new exhibitions and events at the High Museum, add a second infusion of international street art from Living Walls, continuing public art projects like Art on the Atlanta Beltline, the city's new Four Coats murals project and what begins to take shape is an elevated (and growing, fingers crossed) presence on the international art scene.

Unless you're directly involved with a creative organization in Atlanta, there's a more-than-decent chance you've never heard of the all-in-one art event Gather Atlanta. Gather Atlanta's a one-day happening where up-and-coming galleries, arts support organizations, publications, and various creative groups across a wide disciplinary range get in a room together to make it rain business cards on folks, put faces to names (we're all made of pure Internet these days, so yes, sometimes you have to schedule human contact), and pick each other's brains during panel discussions.

This year's August 6 get-together at SCAD-Atlanta marks the third annual installment of the consortium. CL talked to organizers Erica Jamison from MINT Gallery and Chris Appleton from WonderRoot about this year's event.

Unlike other collective art events in town, Gather Atlanta doesn't seem to be directly about the finished art product. So who is this for?

Erica Jamison: It's really a networking event. Most of these organizations know about each other, and what everyone is doing, but we're all so busy that rarely do we have as much of an opportunity as we would like to actually sit and talk to each other, especially in an arena where everyone gets to thoughtfully present who they are. There might be one group that you've heard of and you kinda know what they're about but they can stay on your "I'll find out more later" list for years. That's what Gather Atlanta is about: getting things off that list and walking away with a bunch of new contacts and a greater understanding of the cultural landscape in Atlanta.

So is Gather Atlanta essentially like any other industry conference?

EJ: Yes and no. The structure of the event, each group having their own table to present information and literature or whatever about themselves, is a pretty standard format. But there's a different urgency for having an event like this right now for arts organizations in Atlanta.

Why's that?

EJ: Atlanta is a city in which organic partnerships can be difficult, if not impossible to make under ordinary circumstances. This is a driving city, and that often keeps people from getting to every event, getting to be exposed to everything. It's frustrating. We're trying to address that by making things simple for one day.

This year Gather Atlanta will be held at SCAD-Atlanta. Are you specifically aiming to bring information to the tender young minds at SCAD?

Chris Appleton: SCAD is obviously an arts institution, so we still feel like it's a perfect, neutral place for us. In the end, we chose it based on the space itself, but obviously we're excited that it also gives students closer proximity to the event because they are absolutely a huge part of our target audience. So them having the correct space really made a lot of things easier for us.

Gather Atlanta isn't the only event in Atlanta that aims to grant access to a lot of arts groups at once. Why are cultural corrals like this so helpful?

EJ: In any industry, but especially in the arts I think, having the support of other groups is crucial to survival. Art is not a world where you can really be an island as an organization. A big part of knowing how to maximize what you're doing is knowing who else is out there, what resources you can call on. There are so many efforts going on to support individual projects, and organizations, through fundraisers, etc. But one of most effective ways we can really bolster collective and individual success is simply putting them in a room together, inviting new people to hopefully get involved and watch them naturally figure out how to make each other stronger. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated for accuracy."
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  string(4782) "In recent years, local art-goers have been getting beaucoup chances to kill more birds with fewer stones. Festivals like Artlantis rally galleries and artists from all over the city onto one patch of grass. Geographically based unions of spaces like the Westside Arts District, Castleberry Hill Art Stroll and Ponce Crush invite patrons to traverse neighborhoods, turning disparate gallery openings into whole evening, multi-stop events. The motivation for such efforts is pretty easy to suss out: band together to share patronage and ignite further enthusiasm for the arts.

Throw in the hyped new exhibitions and events at the High Museum, add a second infusion of international street art from Living Walls, continuing public art projects like Art on the Atlanta Beltline, the city's new Four Coats murals project and what begins to take shape is an elevated (and growing, fingers crossed) presence on the international art scene.

Unless you're directly involved with a creative organization in Atlanta, there's a more-than-decent chance you've never heard of the all-in-one art event Gather Atlanta. Gather Atlanta's a one-day happening where [http://clatl.com/atlanta/gather-atlantas-newest-participants/Content?oid=3798628|up-and-coming galleries, arts support organizations, publications, and various creative groups] across a wide disciplinary range get in a room together to make it rain business cards on folks, put faces to names (we're all made of pure Internet these days, so yes, sometimes you have to schedule human contact), and pick each other's brains during panel discussions.

This year's August 6 get-together at SCAD-Atlanta marks the third annual installment of the consortium. ''CL'' talked to organizers Erica Jamison from MINT Gallery and Chris Appleton from WonderRoot about this year's event.

__Unlike other collective art events in town, Gather Atlanta doesn't seem to be directly about the finished art product. So who is this for?__

__Erica Jamison__: It's really a networking event. Most of these organizations know about each other, and what everyone is doing, but we're all so busy that rarely do we have as much of an opportunity as we would like to actually sit and talk to each other, especially in an arena where everyone gets to thoughtfully present who they are. There might be one group that you've heard of and you kinda know what they're about but they can stay on your "I'll find out more later" list for years. That's what Gather Atlanta is about: getting things off that list and walking away with a bunch of new contacts and a greater understanding of the cultural landscape in Atlanta.

__So is Gather Atlanta essentially like any other industry conference?__

__EJ__: Yes and no. The structure of the event, each group having their own table to present information and literature or whatever about themselves, is a pretty standard format. But there's a different urgency for having an event like this right now for arts organizations in Atlanta.

__Why's that?__

__EJ__: Atlanta is a city in which organic partnerships can be difficult, if not impossible to make under ordinary circumstances. This is a driving city, and that often keeps people from getting to every event, getting to be exposed to everything. It's frustrating. We're trying to address that by making things simple for one day.

__This year Gather Atlanta will be held at SCAD-Atlanta. Are you specifically aiming to bring information to the tender young minds at SCAD?__

__Chris Appleton__: SCAD is obviously an arts institution, so we still feel like it's a perfect, neutral place for us. In the end, we chose it based on the space itself, but obviously we're excited that it also gives students closer proximity to the event because they are absolutely a huge part of our target audience. So them having the correct space really made a lot of things easier for us.

__Gather Atlanta isn't the only event in Atlanta that aims to grant access to a lot of arts groups at once. Why are cultural corrals like this so helpful?__

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''EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated for accuracy.''"
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Throw in the hyped new exhibitions and events at the High Museum, add a second infusion of international street art from Living Walls, continuing public art projects like Art on the Atlanta Beltline, the city's new Four Coats murals project and what begins to take shape is an elevated (and growing, fingers crossed) presence on the international art scene.

Unless you're directly involved with a creative organization in Atlanta, there's a more-than-decent chance you've never heard of the all-in-one art event Gather Atlanta. Gather Atlanta's a one-day happening where up-and-coming galleries, arts support organizations, publications, and various creative groups across a wide disciplinary range get in a room together to make it rain business cards on folks, put faces to names (we're all made of pure Internet these days, so yes, sometimes you have to schedule human contact), and pick each other's brains during panel discussions.

This year's August 6 get-together at SCAD-Atlanta marks the third annual installment of the consortium. CL talked to organizers Erica Jamison from MINT Gallery and Chris Appleton from WonderRoot about this year's event.

Unlike other collective art events in town, Gather Atlanta doesn't seem to be directly about the finished art product. So who is this for?

Erica Jamison: It's really a networking event. Most of these organizations know about each other, and what everyone is doing, but we're all so busy that rarely do we have as much of an opportunity as we would like to actually sit and talk to each other, especially in an arena where everyone gets to thoughtfully present who they are. There might be one group that you've heard of and you kinda know what they're about but they can stay on your "I'll find out more later" list for years. That's what Gather Atlanta is about: getting things off that list and walking away with a bunch of new contacts and a greater understanding of the cultural landscape in Atlanta.

So is Gather Atlanta essentially like any other industry conference?

EJ: Yes and no. The structure of the event, each group having their own table to present information and literature or whatever about themselves, is a pretty standard format. But there's a different urgency for having an event like this right now for arts organizations in Atlanta.

Why's that?

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This year Gather Atlanta will be held at SCAD-Atlanta. Are you specifically aiming to bring information to the tender young minds at SCAD?

Chris Appleton: SCAD is obviously an arts institution, so we still feel like it's a perfect, neutral place for us. In the end, we chose it based on the space itself, but obviously we're excited that it also gives students closer proximity to the event because they are absolutely a huge part of our target audience. So them having the correct space really made a lot of things easier for us.

Gather Atlanta isn't the only event in Atlanta that aims to grant access to a lot of arts groups at once. Why are cultural corrals like this so helpful?

EJ: In any industry, but especially in the arts I think, having the support of other groups is crucial to survival. Art is not a world where you can really be an island as an organization. A big part of knowing how to maximize what you're doing is knowing who else is out there, what resources you can call on. There are so many efforts going on to support individual projects, and organizations, through fundraisers, etc. But one of most effective ways we can really bolster collective and individual success is simply putting them in a room together, inviting new people to hopefully get involved and watch them naturally figure out how to make each other stronger. 

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Tuesday August 2, 2011 05:00 pm EDT
Third annual local arts consortium encourages artists to pick each other's brains | more...
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With its figures in stocks, wearing metal collars and toting impossible burdens like ants carrying giant crumbs, ''Middle Passages Redux'', Norman's solo exhibition at Sandler Hudson Gallery, evokes the slave trade in word and image.

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In "Fatherlessness 3," a despondent child gazes into a watery mass. AWOL fathers stare blankly from the depths, as helpless to alter their fates as the little boy. At the bottom of this vast lake, another clot of men, bleached a decomposed salmon color, cluster like snails in undulating grass. "Fatherlessness 1" shows a puny, pitiful man bound at the wrists, neck and ankles by jellyfish tendrils dangling from an enormous floating blue orb. He seems to backpack nothing less than the weight of the entire world. Such works suggest tragic people drifting through the world wanting and alone. Equally grim, but formally lovely, "The Soggy Moons 3" presents a cellular or constellation-like cluster of tiny human beings peering out from an ashen cloud that consumes the picture plane like Dickensian factory exhaust.

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  string(3418) "    Yanique Norman's work is both distressing and immensely pleasurable   2011-07-28T16:00:00+00:00 Middle Passages Redux carries the weight of the modern world   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-07-28T16:00:00+00:00  Gargantuan emotional and physical burdens, endless toil, and toxic clouds of unhappiness radiate off of artist Yanique Norman's creepy, sad, unforgettable work. There is something both distressing and immensely pleasurable about the mottled watercolor clouds, the fleshy, polyp-covered landscapes, and the tragically miniature faces and bodies peering out from Norman's drawings. Even pain, when it's done well, attracts.

With its figures in stocks, wearing metal collars and toting impossible burdens like ants carrying giant crumbs, Middle Passages Redux, Norman's solo exhibition at Sandler Hudson Gallery, evokes the slave trade in word and image.

The work, which combines drawing, collage and gouache, has the vaguely psychedelic feel of the ready-to-burst globular animations in "Monty Python's Flying Circus." The pieces also harbor elements of disgust and bodily excess similar to Kara Walker's silhouettes of antebellum terrors. The work inspires myriad other associations: to painter John Currin's outrageously tumescent females, Laylah Ali's violence-laced cartoons, and the Surrealism of the '20s shacked up with fist-pumping black consciousness. Norman's technique is chilling, her washes of color and ethereal drawing style so vaporous at times as to look almost airbrushed. It gives the impression that all is a dream, prone to vanish — poof! — if you try to touch it. Or a nightmare half remembered from the night before.

"The Soggy Moons 1" suggests both slavery and planetary movements. Two terribly hunched men with toothpick legs heft a pair of absurdly engorged nude women with Mack truck junk-in-the-trunk and helium-filled breasts (but the dainty pouting feet of princesses) over a landscape that looks like nothing so much as a woman's reclining torso.

In "Fatherlessness 3," a despondent child gazes into a watery mass. AWOL fathers stare blankly from the depths, as helpless to alter their fates as the little boy. At the bottom of this vast lake, another clot of men, bleached a decomposed salmon color, cluster like snails in undulating grass. "Fatherlessness 1" shows a puny, pitiful man bound at the wrists, neck and ankles by jellyfish tendrils dangling from an enormous floating blue orb. He seems to backpack nothing less than the weight of the entire world. Such works suggest tragic people drifting through the world wanting and alone. Equally grim, but formally lovely, "The Soggy Moons 3" presents a cellular or constellation-like cluster of tiny human beings peering out from an ashen cloud that consumes the picture plane like Dickensian factory exhaust.

Norman's work is heady, sophisticated stuff with a haunting visual quality, considering the artist's provenance as a self-taught artist. Though grounded in the historical burden of slavery, Norman's work taps into contemporary social issues, too, of absent fathers and soft, corpulent, oblivious people, heedless to the toil and pain that came before them. Norman suggests that some of us may be no better off, lost in a contemporary middle passage of existential angst and suffering.              13061740 3729171                          Middle Passages Redux carries the weight of the modern world "
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Thursday July 28, 2011 12:00 pm EDT
Yanique Norman's work is both distressing and immensely pleasurable | more...
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  string(3474) "It's the curse of every scene: Jazz, blues, glam rock, punk were all once seen as vanguard and outrageous, but each eventually had its teeth pulled, its sex drive squelched, its hair line recede. No doubt hip-hop will some day seem about as inoffensive as jazz, Nicki Minaj will get the Muzak treatment, and the younger generation will curl up its lip in disdain at grandpa's lame gangsta glory tales.

New York-based photographer Mike Schreiber's images of hip-hop artists do the job you expect of hagiographic work for sources such as Vibe, Urb and Source. They arrest the dangerous glamour of a movement, even as the musicians and the scene may fade away. True Hip-Hop at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery delivers the documentary, self-mythologizing quality of a scene looking badass while it still has time, authenticity shrouding it like a boxer's cloak. There are baseball bats waved menacingly at the camera, pit bulls held in a white-knuckle grip, and tattoos that promise the precipice of death has been witnessed and just barely escaped. In an image from 2004, a glassy-eyed Ol' Dirty Bastard offers up a glimpse of his crazy diamond teeth, blissed-out and unaware that beyond the margins of time and space in the image, he is already dead.

Shot on film in an era when our eye has grown used to digital, the coal blacks and shimmering whites in Schreiber's photographs of Mos Def, M.I.A., Jermaine Dupri and others offer a contact high with not just these darlings of music magazine covers, but the whole gestalt of their fascinating origins. Since so much of the hip-hop mythos is context — the violence, the rotten childhoods, the poverty and hustling — the images that tug at you are the ones with an evocative setting. Schreiber factors in the hard-edged architecture of city life to invest the images with grit and energy. Crucial insight into the grind of daily life is gleaned in the uncharacteristically melancholy portrait "Dwele," in which the singer is glimpsed through the scratched plexiglass windows of a subway car. "C-Murder" frames the rapper and convicted murderer against the war zone that was New Orleans' Calliope Projects. Bravado, fronting, all the things that define hip-hop come through in Schreiber's subjects' preening and posing as they fan a stash of $100 bills like a peacock's plumage, lean into jacked up cars or unveil torsos as wordy as a Kindle screen, with trompe l'oeil tattoos of pistols tucked into pants.

While Schreiber tends to endow his male subjects with something like agency, his female subjects possess a Garbo air of mystery. Despite wearing a hoodie with Stegosaurus prongs, M.I.A. in profile, her dark skin contrasted with the white hood, conjures up a Horst or Irving Penn fashion shot. Erykah Badu is a sphinx hidden by a shawl and hat, who emerges from inky shadow. An exception to that boy-girl divide may be the fetishistic, death trip photograph "Maino." In it, the Brooklyn rapper's downcast eyes allow us to ponder a rope of scar tissue smiling on his right cheek and a tattooed necklace on his bare chest promising "Death Before Dishonor."

Do Schreiber's images teach us anything new about these people? Maybe not. Portraiture has often frustrated for its ability to hover breathtakingly close to the skin of its subjects, while keeping the viewer at arm's length. But Schreiber, who studied anthropology as an undergrad, offers a memento of a cultural moment — the days when hip-hop ruled the earth. "
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New York-based photographer Mike Schreiber's images of hip-hop artists do the job you expect of hagiographic work for sources such as ''Vibe'', ''Urb'' and ''Source''. They arrest the dangerous glamour of a movement, even as the musicians and the scene may fade away. ''True Hip-Hop'' at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery delivers the documentary, self-mythologizing quality of a scene looking badass while it still has time, authenticity shrouding it like a boxer's cloak. There are baseball bats waved menacingly at the camera, pit bulls held in a white-knuckle grip, and tattoos that promise the precipice of death has been witnessed and just barely escaped. In an image from 2004, a glassy-eyed Ol' Dirty Bastard offers up a glimpse of his crazy diamond teeth, blissed-out and unaware that beyond the margins of time and space in the image, he is already dead.

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New York-based photographer Mike Schreiber's images of hip-hop artists do the job you expect of hagiographic work for sources such as Vibe, Urb and Source. They arrest the dangerous glamour of a movement, even as the musicians and the scene may fade away. True Hip-Hop at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery delivers the documentary, self-mythologizing quality of a scene looking badass while it still has time, authenticity shrouding it like a boxer's cloak. There are baseball bats waved menacingly at the camera, pit bulls held in a white-knuckle grip, and tattoos that promise the precipice of death has been witnessed and just barely escaped. In an image from 2004, a glassy-eyed Ol' Dirty Bastard offers up a glimpse of his crazy diamond teeth, blissed-out and unaware that beyond the margins of time and space in the image, he is already dead.

Shot on film in an era when our eye has grown used to digital, the coal blacks and shimmering whites in Schreiber's photographs of Mos Def, M.I.A., Jermaine Dupri and others offer a contact high with not just these darlings of music magazine covers, but the whole gestalt of their fascinating origins. Since so much of the hip-hop mythos is context — the violence, the rotten childhoods, the poverty and hustling — the images that tug at you are the ones with an evocative setting. Schreiber factors in the hard-edged architecture of city life to invest the images with grit and energy. Crucial insight into the grind of daily life is gleaned in the uncharacteristically melancholy portrait "Dwele," in which the singer is glimpsed through the scratched plexiglass windows of a subway car. "C-Murder" frames the rapper and convicted murderer against the war zone that was New Orleans' Calliope Projects. Bravado, fronting, all the things that define hip-hop come through in Schreiber's subjects' preening and posing as they fan a stash of $100 bills like a peacock's plumage, lean into jacked up cars or unveil torsos as wordy as a Kindle screen, with trompe l'oeil tattoos of pistols tucked into pants.

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Friday July 22, 2011 03:00 pm EDT
Mike Schreiber's True Hip-Hop reveals hip-hop in its heyday | more...
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  string(4495) "Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine at the High Museum is like a light flicking on in a dark room, revealing a treasure that was hidden in your attic all along.

Raised in Atlanta, Bailey attended the now-defunct Atlanta College of Art on the Woodruff Arts Center campus and has finally ascended that most difficult of hurdles: making his way into his hometown museum. For longtime residents, it's almost impossible not to feel a rush of pride at this exhibition with its sense of scope and consideration of a locally grown artist-hero.

The exhibition's timeline ranges from early work, such as 1993's "Seven Steps East," done soon after the artist graduated from ACA in 1991, to work of a very recent vintage, such as the inspired installation piece "Windward Coast," in which a man's head is lost in a sea of hundreds of piano keys. It's a show-stopper, full of churning emotion. It lacks some of the sense of cataclysm it had when stuffed into the smaller space of Bailey's Atlanta gallery, Solomon Projects. But it benefits, as does all the work, from the call and response it offers when seen next to so much other work in this conceptually tight but comprehensive-feeling show.

Memory as Medicine's greatest strength may be its accessibility. Bailey has an ethereal, feather-light touch with heady material, as in "Destination Unknown," which ticks off the days of a ship's passage in hand-drawn hatch marks. The mixed-media work incorporates the weighty materials of indigo and tobacco and includes a haunting photograph of African-Americans laboring in the field. The subject matter is emotionally weighty, but the human mark-making and the beautifully subdued color palette of blues, contrasted with yellowed documents, is so intimate you can't help but move in close. With their wooden armature and Plexiglas surfaces, Bailey's monumental creations give the feeling of looking into a window or a shadow box reliquary.

The exhibit's biggest shocker is how continuous the line from youth to maturity has been for Bailey. Standing before the works often feels like holding a color-crazed kaleidoscope, whose kinetic patterns keep changing though the essential motifs of the past, family and the cosmos, remain constant. Bailey may have only recently discovered glitter, but the material's sense of movement and cosmic magic was felt in the vibrant, pulsating bands of reds, greens and cobalt blues that animated his early assemblages and works on panel.

A communal past mixes with a personal one in a series inspired by Bailey's tracing of his DNA back to the Mende region of Sierra Leone. In "Stride," a supersized, glitter-encrusted double helix resides in a wonderfully retro, Victorian dime museum case. Nearby, a drawing of a Mende figure in a tintype case where an antiquated photo of a buttoned-up, unsmiling family member would normally go brings a vast history closer to home.

For some artists, the overwhelmingly dire content of slavery evoked in Bailey's themes of passage from Africa to America, and the universal passage he evokes in boats and the cosmos from the world of the living to the world of the infinite, might burden their work. But Bailey's perspective is airborne, humanistic, full of hope. He takes the South's legacy of slavery (the proverbial elephant in the room) and, instead of a bottomless gulf of pain, finds healing and wisdom.

Take 2010's "Western Current," a watercolor of a roiling sea carrying a boat across the ocean. Inside the boat is a collage of wooden African statues. The work is both potent and whimsical: It shows the passage of an entire culture from one land to the next, or perhaps some ancestors determined to stage a Blaxploitation coup d'état in the new land, with ancestry represented by humanoid stand-ins.

Carol Thompson, the High's curator of African art and of this show, elevates Bailey's context from simply local-artist-done-good to provide a sense that we are connected in deep and rich ways to the past. Thompson has included several African sculptures in Memory as Medicine to show the influence on Bailey's art of these Congolese wooden figures, with their glass eyes contemplating eternity and Mende figures, with their Nick Cave-ish bodies of raffia. In turn, Bailey's more recent work done in anticipation of the High exhibition acknowledges the influence of the museum's African art collection. Thompson, for her part, shows the profundity of the past, while Bailey makes history seem more relevant and alive. "
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The exhibition's timeline ranges from early work, such as 1993's "Seven Steps East," done soon after the artist graduated from ACA in 1991, to work of a very recent vintage, such as the inspired installation piece "Windward Coast," in which a man's head is lost in a sea of hundreds of piano keys. It's a show-stopper, full of churning emotion. It lacks some of the sense of cataclysm it had when stuffed into the smaller space of Bailey's Atlanta gallery, Solomon Projects. But it benefits, as does all the work, from the call and response it offers when seen next to so much other work in this conceptually tight but comprehensive-feeling show.

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A communal past mixes with a personal one in a series inspired by Bailey's tracing of his DNA back to the Mende region of Sierra Leone. In "Stride," a supersized, glitter-encrusted double helix resides in a wonderfully retro, Victorian dime museum case. Nearby, a drawing of a Mende figure in a tintype case where an antiquated photo of a buttoned-up, unsmiling family member would normally go brings a vast history closer to home.

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Take 2010's "Western Current," a watercolor of a roiling sea carrying a boat across the ocean. Inside the boat is a collage of wooden African statues. The work is both potent and whimsical: It shows the passage of an entire culture from one land to the next, or perhaps some ancestors determined to stage a Blaxploitation coup d'état in the new land, with ancestry represented by humanoid stand-ins.

Carol Thompson, the High's curator of African art and of this show, elevates Bailey's context from simply local-artist-done-good to provide a sense that we are connected in deep and rich ways to the past. Thompson has included several African sculptures in ''Memory as Medicine'' to show the influence on Bailey's art of these Congolese wooden figures, with their glass eyes contemplating eternity and Mende figures, with their Nick Cave-ish bodies of raffia. In turn, Bailey's more recent work done in anticipation of the High exhibition acknowledges the influence of the museum's African art collection. Thompson, for her part, shows the profundity of the past, while Bailey makes history seem more relevant and alive. "
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Raised in Atlanta, Bailey attended the now-defunct Atlanta College of Art on the Woodruff Arts Center campus and has finally ascended that most difficult of hurdles: making his way into his hometown museum. For longtime residents, it's almost impossible not to feel a rush of pride at this exhibition with its sense of scope and consideration of a locally grown artist-hero.

The exhibition's timeline ranges from early work, such as 1993's "Seven Steps East," done soon after the artist graduated from ACA in 1991, to work of a very recent vintage, such as the inspired installation piece "Windward Coast," in which a man's head is lost in a sea of hundreds of piano keys. It's a show-stopper, full of churning emotion. It lacks some of the sense of cataclysm it had when stuffed into the smaller space of Bailey's Atlanta gallery, Solomon Projects. But it benefits, as does all the work, from the call and response it offers when seen next to so much other work in this conceptually tight but comprehensive-feeling show.

Memory as Medicine's greatest strength may be its accessibility. Bailey has an ethereal, feather-light touch with heady material, as in "Destination Unknown," which ticks off the days of a ship's passage in hand-drawn hatch marks. The mixed-media work incorporates the weighty materials of indigo and tobacco and includes a haunting photograph of African-Americans laboring in the field. The subject matter is emotionally weighty, but the human mark-making and the beautifully subdued color palette of blues, contrasted with yellowed documents, is so intimate you can't help but move in close. With their wooden armature and Plexiglas surfaces, Bailey's monumental creations give the feeling of looking into a window or a shadow box reliquary.

The exhibit's biggest shocker is how continuous the line from youth to maturity has been for Bailey. Standing before the works often feels like holding a color-crazed kaleidoscope, whose kinetic patterns keep changing though the essential motifs of the past, family and the cosmos, remain constant. Bailey may have only recently discovered glitter, but the material's sense of movement and cosmic magic was felt in the vibrant, pulsating bands of reds, greens and cobalt blues that animated his early assemblages and works on panel.

A communal past mixes with a personal one in a series inspired by Bailey's tracing of his DNA back to the Mende region of Sierra Leone. In "Stride," a supersized, glitter-encrusted double helix resides in a wonderfully retro, Victorian dime museum case. Nearby, a drawing of a Mende figure in a tintype case where an antiquated photo of a buttoned-up, unsmiling family member would normally go brings a vast history closer to home.

For some artists, the overwhelmingly dire content of slavery evoked in Bailey's themes of passage from Africa to America, and the universal passage he evokes in boats and the cosmos from the world of the living to the world of the infinite, might burden their work. But Bailey's perspective is airborne, humanistic, full of hope. He takes the South's legacy of slavery (the proverbial elephant in the room) and, instead of a bottomless gulf of pain, finds healing and wisdom.

Take 2010's "Western Current," a watercolor of a roiling sea carrying a boat across the ocean. Inside the boat is a collage of wooden African statues. The work is both potent and whimsical: It shows the passage of an entire culture from one land to the next, or perhaps some ancestors determined to stage a Blaxploitation coup d'état in the new land, with ancestry represented by humanoid stand-ins.

Carol Thompson, the High's curator of African art and of this show, elevates Bailey's context from simply local-artist-done-good to provide a sense that we are connected in deep and rich ways to the past. Thompson has included several African sculptures in Memory as Medicine to show the influence on Bailey's art of these Congolese wooden figures, with their glass eyes contemplating eternity and Mende figures, with their Nick Cave-ish bodies of raffia. In turn, Bailey's more recent work done in anticipation of the High exhibition acknowledges the influence of the museum's African art collection. Thompson, for her part, shows the profundity of the past, while Bailey makes history seem more relevant and alive.              13061511 3584354                          Radcliffe Bailey draws from dark history to push his own art forward "
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Article

Friday July 15, 2011 04:00 pm EDT
Atlanta's can take pride in homegrown talent on display at High | more...
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  string(3209) "Like Where's Waldo? for grown-ups, artist Francis X. Pavy's combo packs of mixed-media woodblock prints, stencils and paint are a head trip of search-and-find stuff. Your eyes will get a workout roaming across Pavy's layered palimpsests and their festive surfaces action-packed with imagery ranging from artichokes to onions to rockabilly guitar strummers. In his solo show New Roads at Barbara Archer Gallery, most of the works on paper and canvas hover around 20-inches-by-30-inches. The artworks combine a succession of prints of country and Western crooners, fish or Coke bottles layered with stencil raindrops and hand-drawn swirls of color.

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Often there's a combination of too much going on and too much same old same old. In such singular pieces, Pavy breaks from his 20-by-30ish format to let his inner storyteller off the hook. "Alligator Rain," a large-scale mix of a mural-sized woodblock print on paper, features an alligator in all its green, leathery glory over which Pavy has laid prints of fish, turtles, crabs and other swamp town critters. Pavy has also incorporated delicate panels of tissue paper, which better convey the sense of our eye as the brain's detective, roaming across discrete pieces of information to make up a total picture.

Pavy's techniques can suggest a metaphor for consciousness, subjectivity and memory as composed of many discrete parts. Nowhere does that become clearer than in the sculptural work "Borderlands: The Twin with the Camera," where Pavy gets satisfyingly personal. Using a succession of materials including layers of plexiglass, carved wood, neon and text, Pavy tells the story of a lady photographer friend who wound up in a mental institution. It's an ambitious piece with the creativity and freedom that suggests an artist truly going outside his comfort zone and turning up real treasure in the process. "
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The Louisiana-based artist, who counts Paul Simon and Ron Howard among his fans, shows a sincere dedication to cramming as much information as possible into a limited amount of space. In "The Lost Road, Chatahoula Study #1," faces emerge from the farrago, a man radiates electric squiggles of energy, a white dove enters from one corner and an explosion of bright Astroturf green occurs in another. Pavy's work exudes a folksy, Southern love of the stuff of daily life that many have attributed to the artist's Cajun roots. Pavy feels about wide-tooth combs and Coke bottles the way some Southern folk artists feel about Jesus and Satan: he just can't get enough. With their yen for retro imagery and manic layers, the pieces often feel like observing a vintage juke joint act beneath a haze of alcohol: everything comes at you at once, and processing can be a challenge.

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The Louisiana-based artist, who counts Paul Simon and Ron Howard among his fans, shows a sincere dedication to cramming as much information as possible into a limited amount of space. In "The Lost Road, Chatahoula Study #1," faces emerge from the farrago, a man radiates electric squiggles of energy, a white dove enters from one corner and an explosion of bright Astroturf green occurs in another. Pavy's work exudes a folksy, Southern love of the stuff of daily life that many have attributed to the artist's Cajun roots. Pavy feels about wide-tooth combs and Coke bottles the way some Southern folk artists feel about Jesus and Satan: he just can't get enough. With their yen for retro imagery and manic layers, the pieces often feel like observing a vintage juke joint act beneath a haze of alcohol: everything comes at you at once, and processing can be a challenge.

Do a circuit around the gallery and you begin to feel locked in the visual equivalent of a word search. Some of Pavy's works are less appealing for the simple fact that they aren't chock full enough with interesting stuff — your eyeballs become greedy as your brain acclimates to the barrage of imagery and begins to crave more quirk, more non sequiturs, more novelty. You find yourself thinking, "You know, a catfish and an alarm clock right here might do the trick."

Often there's a combination of too much going on and too much same old same old. In such singular pieces, Pavy breaks from his 20-by-30ish format to let his inner storyteller off the hook. "Alligator Rain," a large-scale mix of a mural-sized woodblock print on paper, features an alligator in all its green, leathery glory over which Pavy has laid prints of fish, turtles, crabs and other swamp town critters. Pavy has also incorporated delicate panels of tissue paper, which better convey the sense of our eye as the brain's detective, roaming across discrete pieces of information to make up a total picture.

Pavy's techniques can suggest a metaphor for consciousness, subjectivity and memory as composed of many discrete parts. Nowhere does that become clearer than in the sculptural work "Borderlands: The Twin with the Camera," where Pavy gets satisfyingly personal. Using a succession of materials including layers of plexiglass, carved wood, neon and text, Pavy tells the story of a lady photographer friend who wound up in a mental institution. It's an ambitious piece with the creativity and freedom that suggests an artist truly going outside his comfort zone and turning up real treasure in the process.              13061372 3503371                          Francis X. Pavy's New Roads unfurls a mixed-media head trip "
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Monday July 11, 2011 05:00 am EDT
Louisiana-based artist shows a yen for retro imagery and manic layers at Barbara Archer Gallery | more...
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  string(4308) "Anyone who reads Nicholas D. Kristof's New York Times columns charting the horrific violence perpetuated against women around the world knows that the situation is as dire as ever. Rather than declining in the face of modern progress and enlightenment, religious fundamentalism, ongoing war and global poverty have only fanned the flames of violence against women.

And yet in some ways women's rights have never felt less urgent; it often seems the worst thing you can call any hip young thing these days is the "f" word. In general, talking about feminism in 2011 feels about as cool as fanny packs and minivans.

For that reason, the exhibit Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art at the CDC's Global Health Odyssey Museum seems like a throwback — at least for Atlanta. It's a show that recalls the days in the '90s and early aughts when such issue-driven group shows popped up with regularity at venues like the Atlanta College of Art and Eyedrum. Recently, they've been supplanted by the individualistic, inward-looking art of the Facebook age. Featuring truly profound work by 28 certified international stars, including Laylah Ali, Hank Willis Thomas and Mona Hatoum, Off the Beaten Path is a reminder that art can be the best possible way to tackle difficult subjects: It invites contemplation, soul-searching, a connection to realities not one's own. Complex issues are often talked to death but art moves past concrete language into the realm of myth.

Proving she's as captivating in her hulking, attention-grabbing sculptures as she is in the most delicate context, Louise Bourgeois' small 1999 drawing "The Accident" offers what could be the primal myth of misogyny scrawled on a cave wall: a woman happily smiling in high heels whose midsection is penetrated by a crutch. Forty-six years after its debut, Yoko Ono's performance "Cut Piece" remains powerful enough to take your breath away. Ono's work resembles a date rape in slow motion as audience members are invited to slowly cut away the artist's clothing. Unseen men in the audience cackle as one man cuts away her brassiere, and a stricken look clouds Ono's face. Yes, sexual violence is happening far away in Darfur or Liberia — and the exhibit confirms that — but "Cut Piece" is a reminder that it also persists close to home.

The work that bores under your skin in Off the Beaten Path often uses a shocking inversion of form, such as Joyce J. Scott's crafty, glossy beadwork in 2008's "Day After Rape, Darfur." Used to create a tiny bound and bleeding woman, the beading offers a vicious memento of a wartime horror in the form of a tourist souvenir. For a respite from all of the assembled pain, there are Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi's theatrical, narrative-sodden photographs full of the defiant spirit. Featuring young women wearing wrinkled old-lady masks, the images show women freed from the constraints of beauty culture and marriage, letting their inner boho run free.

Some of the show's work is unshakably haunting, such as Polish artist Gabriela Morawetz's unsettling black-and-white photographs of an unmade bed and of strange objects formed from bed linens that are both soft and suggestive of violence. The work gets at the unimaginable but ordinary horror of incest — where the protective womb of family life and smothering violence coalesce — in a sensory, almost subconscious way.

There is some monumental work in Off the Beaten Path, though often its effect is eroded slightly by the various "teaching moments" in the accompanying wall text. The notations offer sweeping (or just plain absurd, such as "in the 1960s, many women went braless") pronouncements about domestic violence and wartime rape. The text undeniably serves a larger purpose, but can undercut the artists' individual voices. The exhibit, curated by the California-based Art Works for Change, feels utterly vital and relevant. But it's so curatorially mediated it feels like art under a butterfly net, with the curator coaching us on how to feel.

Off the Beaten Path's placement at the Global Health Odyssey Museum is its biggest drawback, accessible only after passing through multiple security checks, including a full car inspection and a bag search. Thankfully, the exhibit offers a rich reward in exchange for your trouble. "
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And yet in some ways women's rights have never felt less urgent; it often seems the worst thing you can call any hip young thing these days is the "f" word. In general, talking about feminism in 2011 feels about as cool as fanny packs and minivans.

For that reason, the exhibit ''Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art'' at the CDC's Global Health Odyssey Museum seems like a throwback — at least for Atlanta. It's a show that recalls the days in the '90s and early aughts when such issue-driven group shows popped up with regularity at venues like the Atlanta College of Art and Eyedrum. Recently, they've been supplanted by the individualistic, inward-looking art of the Facebook age. Featuring truly profound work by 28 certified international stars, including Laylah Ali, Hank Willis Thomas and Mona Hatoum, ''Off the Beaten Path'' is a reminder that art can be the best possible way to tackle difficult subjects: It invites contemplation, soul-searching, a connection to realities not one's own. Complex issues are often talked to death but art moves past concrete language into the realm of myth.

Proving she's as captivating in her hulking, attention-grabbing sculptures as she is in the most delicate context, Louise Bourgeois' small 1999 drawing "The Accident" offers what could be the primal myth of misogyny scrawled on a cave wall: a woman happily smiling in high heels whose midsection is penetrated by a crutch. Forty-six years after its debut, Yoko Ono's performance "Cut Piece" remains powerful enough to take your breath away. Ono's work resembles a date rape in slow motion as audience members are invited to slowly cut away the artist's clothing. Unseen men in the audience cackle as one man cuts away her brassiere, and a stricken look clouds Ono's face. Yes, sexual violence is happening far away in Darfur or Liberia — and the exhibit confirms that — but "Cut Piece" is a reminder that it also persists close to home.

The work that bores under your skin in ''Off the Beaten Path'' often uses a shocking inversion of form, such as Joyce J. Scott's crafty, glossy beadwork in 2008's "Day After Rape, Darfur." Used to create a tiny bound and bleeding woman, the beading offers a vicious memento of a wartime horror in the form of a tourist souvenir. For a respite from all of the assembled pain, there are Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi's theatrical, narrative-sodden photographs full of the defiant spirit. Featuring young women wearing wrinkled old-lady masks, the images show women freed from the constraints of beauty culture and marriage, letting their inner boho run free.

Some of the show's work is unshakably haunting, such as Polish artist Gabriela Morawetz's unsettling black-and-white photographs of an unmade bed and of strange objects formed from bed linens that are both soft and suggestive of violence. The work gets at the unimaginable but ordinary horror of incest — where the protective womb of family life and smothering violence coalesce — in a sensory, almost subconscious way.

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And yet in some ways women's rights have never felt less urgent; it often seems the worst thing you can call any hip young thing these days is the "f" word. In general, talking about feminism in 2011 feels about as cool as fanny packs and minivans.

For that reason, the exhibit Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art at the CDC's Global Health Odyssey Museum seems like a throwback — at least for Atlanta. It's a show that recalls the days in the '90s and early aughts when such issue-driven group shows popped up with regularity at venues like the Atlanta College of Art and Eyedrum. Recently, they've been supplanted by the individualistic, inward-looking art of the Facebook age. Featuring truly profound work by 28 certified international stars, including Laylah Ali, Hank Willis Thomas and Mona Hatoum, Off the Beaten Path is a reminder that art can be the best possible way to tackle difficult subjects: It invites contemplation, soul-searching, a connection to realities not one's own. Complex issues are often talked to death but art moves past concrete language into the realm of myth.

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The work that bores under your skin in Off the Beaten Path often uses a shocking inversion of form, such as Joyce J. Scott's crafty, glossy beadwork in 2008's "Day After Rape, Darfur." Used to create a tiny bound and bleeding woman, the beading offers a vicious memento of a wartime horror in the form of a tourist souvenir. For a respite from all of the assembled pain, there are Japanese artist Miwa Yanagi's theatrical, narrative-sodden photographs full of the defiant spirit. Featuring young women wearing wrinkled old-lady masks, the images show women freed from the constraints of beauty culture and marriage, letting their inner boho run free.

Some of the show's work is unshakably haunting, such as Polish artist Gabriela Morawetz's unsettling black-and-white photographs of an unmade bed and of strange objects formed from bed linens that are both soft and suggestive of violence. The work gets at the unimaginable but ordinary horror of incest — where the protective womb of family life and smothering violence coalesce — in a sensory, almost subconscious way.

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Off the Beaten Path's placement at the Global Health Odyssey Museum is its biggest drawback, accessible only after passing through multiple security checks, including a full car inspection and a bag search. Thankfully, the exhibit offers a rich reward in exchange for your trouble.              13061233 3420922                          CDC museum looks at a history of violence against women "
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Friday July 1, 2011 05:00 am EDT
Off the Beaten Path a reminder that art can be the best way to tackle difficult subjects | more...

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  string(2859) "For fashion devotees, clothes are as vital a form of communication as language. Stevie Nicks wouldn't be Stevie Nicks without those gauzy skirts and top hats and Queen Elizabeth just wouldn't project that "to the monarchy born" big mama vibe without those mumsy A-line dresses. It makes perfect sense then that Brooklyn-based artist Shinique Smith should take clothing, the canvas and meaning-generator we sport as our personal sandwich boards, as her medium.

A painter squeezes a tube of oil paint but this Vivienne Westwood of the gallery set is an alchemist of Benetton blouses and Harbor Bay knitwear. Smith assembles the fabrics into doughy mounds and cuts and adheres them to her swirling, colorful canvases that combine paint and found objects such as plastic bags and silk flowers. The clothes are not only evocative stand-ins for people, but also mini-canvases in their own right, with their fields of posies, minimalist patterns and pop art designs.

Enchantment is Smith's pithy show currently on view at the SCAD's Trois Gallery. The exhibition features collages of appropriated magazine pages and the fascinating sculpture "Monochrome," a work bifurcated into mounds of white clothing and mounds of black clothing lashed to a canvas with ribbons. In one regard, the piece seems a commentary on racial constructs, which tend to divide the world into black and white. But in Smith's conception of color there's also black polka dot, black zebra pattern, shiny black, matte black and shades of white ranging from chalk to French vanilla to an oxidized yellow.

Smith has created a whole semiotics of clothes, showing the loaded, meaning-generating potential of fabric. Nowhere is that idea clearer than in "A Sleep From Day." Within a kinetic vortex of paint, tie-dye fabrics, camouflage, jeans embroidered with leaves and flowers, and a vintage dress mix in a kind of fabric shorthand for the '60s.

Clothing in Smith's hands proves an interestingly malleable material, located somewhere between paint, clay and the offerings at a free-for-all rummage sale. Fabric can be flat and almost purely surface or bunched to become sculptural. But it's not Smith's only material: just as often her putty is fashion itself. In her works on paper, Smith arranges newspaper and magazine clippings into freakish blobs of hair and cloth, jewelry and skin. As often as her three-dimensional work recalls Mike Kelley's sculptures of thrift store crocheted animals, her photo collages evoke the occasionally nightmarish, Frankenstein mashups of artist Wangechi Mutu. Like Mutu, Smith takes the consumer lexicon of flashy baubles and marabou fur and platinum hair and smashes it into one disturbing lump of visual information. Brimming with multiple meanings, at its heart Smith's work is an evocation of the human experience as seen through its material culture. "
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A painter squeezes a tube of oil paint but this Vivienne Westwood of the gallery set is an alchemist of Benetton blouses and Harbor Bay knitwear. Smith assembles the fabrics into doughy mounds and cuts and adheres them to her swirling, colorful canvases that combine paint and found objects such as plastic bags and silk flowers. The clothes are not only evocative stand-ins for people, but also mini-canvases in their own right, with their fields of posies, minimalist patterns and pop art designs.

''Enchantment'' is Smith's pithy show currently on view at the SCAD's Trois Gallery. The exhibition features collages of appropriated magazine pages and the fascinating sculpture "Monochrome," a work bifurcated into mounds of white clothing and mounds of black clothing lashed to a canvas with ribbons. In one regard, the piece seems a commentary on racial constructs, which tend to divide the world into black and white. But in Smith's conception of color there's also black polka dot, black zebra pattern, shiny black, matte black and shades of white ranging from chalk to French vanilla to an oxidized yellow.

Smith has created a whole semiotics of clothes, showing the loaded, meaning-generating potential of fabric. Nowhere is that idea clearer than in "A Sleep From Day." Within a kinetic vortex of paint, tie-dye fabrics, camouflage, jeans embroidered with leaves and flowers, and a vintage dress mix in a kind of fabric shorthand for the '60s.

Clothing in Smith's hands proves an interestingly malleable material, located somewhere between paint, clay and the offerings at a free-for-all rummage sale. Fabric can be flat and almost purely surface or bunched to become sculptural. But it's not Smith's only material: just as often her putty is fashion itself. In her works on paper, Smith arranges newspaper and magazine clippings into freakish blobs of hair and cloth, jewelry and skin. As often as her three-dimensional work recalls Mike Kelley's sculptures of thrift store crocheted animals, her photo collages evoke the occasionally nightmarish, Frankenstein mashups of artist Wangechi Mutu. Like Mutu, Smith takes the consumer lexicon of flashy baubles and marabou fur and platinum hair and smashes it into one disturbing lump of visual information. Brimming with multiple meanings, at its heart Smith's work is an evocation of the human experience as seen through its material culture. "
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  string(3187) "    This Vivienne Westwood of the gallery set makes clothing her medium   2011-06-24T09:00:00+00:00 Shinique Smith outfits SCAD in the fashionating Enchantment   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-06-24T09:00:00+00:00  For fashion devotees, clothes are as vital a form of communication as language. Stevie Nicks wouldn't be Stevie Nicks without those gauzy skirts and top hats and Queen Elizabeth just wouldn't project that "to the monarchy born" big mama vibe without those mumsy A-line dresses. It makes perfect sense then that Brooklyn-based artist Shinique Smith should take clothing, the canvas and meaning-generator we sport as our personal sandwich boards, as her medium.

A painter squeezes a tube of oil paint but this Vivienne Westwood of the gallery set is an alchemist of Benetton blouses and Harbor Bay knitwear. Smith assembles the fabrics into doughy mounds and cuts and adheres them to her swirling, colorful canvases that combine paint and found objects such as plastic bags and silk flowers. The clothes are not only evocative stand-ins for people, but also mini-canvases in their own right, with their fields of posies, minimalist patterns and pop art designs.

Enchantment is Smith's pithy show currently on view at the SCAD's Trois Gallery. The exhibition features collages of appropriated magazine pages and the fascinating sculpture "Monochrome," a work bifurcated into mounds of white clothing and mounds of black clothing lashed to a canvas with ribbons. In one regard, the piece seems a commentary on racial constructs, which tend to divide the world into black and white. But in Smith's conception of color there's also black polka dot, black zebra pattern, shiny black, matte black and shades of white ranging from chalk to French vanilla to an oxidized yellow.

Smith has created a whole semiotics of clothes, showing the loaded, meaning-generating potential of fabric. Nowhere is that idea clearer than in "A Sleep From Day." Within a kinetic vortex of paint, tie-dye fabrics, camouflage, jeans embroidered with leaves and flowers, and a vintage dress mix in a kind of fabric shorthand for the '60s.

Clothing in Smith's hands proves an interestingly malleable material, located somewhere between paint, clay and the offerings at a free-for-all rummage sale. Fabric can be flat and almost purely surface or bunched to become sculptural. But it's not Smith's only material: just as often her putty is fashion itself. In her works on paper, Smith arranges newspaper and magazine clippings into freakish blobs of hair and cloth, jewelry and skin. As often as her three-dimensional work recalls Mike Kelley's sculptures of thrift store crocheted animals, her photo collages evoke the occasionally nightmarish, Frankenstein mashups of artist Wangechi Mutu. Like Mutu, Smith takes the consumer lexicon of flashy baubles and marabou fur and platinum hair and smashes it into one disturbing lump of visual information. Brimming with multiple meanings, at its heart Smith's work is an evocation of the human experience as seen through its material culture.              13061105 3374863                          Shinique Smith outfits SCAD in the fashionating Enchantment "
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Friday June 24, 2011 05:00 am EDT
This Vivienne Westwood of the gallery set makes clothing her medium | more...
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  string(3734) "I've tried not to take it personally that the embroidered violets I made as a preteen for my grandmother now hang above her latrine. The womanly art of sewing was never my forte. But the current generation of artists employing needlework doesn't strike me as particularly interested in the "womanly" arts, either. Instead, artists are taking the form down roads both weird and wicked, whether engaged in yarn bombing street art or knitting ironic vegetables, breasts or iPod cozies to subvert their progenitors. A reclaiming of sewing defines the Young Blood exhibition Crossbred Thread: Ego and Memory, which tips its skull cap to craft but takes its cues more from the conceptual art world.

Stephanie Blair, featured along with Stacey Page in the stitch-centric Crossbred, could hardly be described as ladylike, given her tendency to drop the occasional f-bomb into her sewn text. Blair's layered work has a purposeful grittiness, and there's a subversive energy in her minimalist, free-form stitching of both text and image. The art's look and feel evoke Raymond Pettibon's similarly impulsive drawings. Blair stitches Catholic imagery and primal creatures that suggest Aztec drawings, but also creates photo-based silkscreens on fabric such as "Stoned Family," which depicts a group of men playing guitar in a cramped kitchen. Blair houses her fabric works in conventional frames, but just as often employs round embroidery hoops for that extra measure of homemade ethos.

Her silkscreened, painted and sewn works hang in a chaotic salon style, blazing across a stretch of the gallery wall. The mass of work unfurls a family history of suggestive creativity, flinty attitude and colorful language in place of the tame family picture wall. In "Trailer Trash," Blair opines "growing up in a trailer don't mean I can't read superfluous theoretical prose." The Athens, Ga., native has described her heritage as "half hillbilly, half Mexican." In a nice parallel to the current autobiographical Paper Twins show at Get This! Gallery, Blair examines her upbringing amid poor but proud people and offers up her work as document, memento and act of devotion. Her stitching is saucy, angry and purposefully sloppy at times to better convey a spirit of co-mingled defiance and pride.

Blair gets props for ambition, but she could stand to edit and tighten her work. The autobiographical core often becomes weighed down by imprecise and distractingly oblique visuals. The murkiness of some of the images and of Blair's intent can muddy some promising material, as in the painted work "Flirting," which appears to depict a little girl taking a pugilist jab at a small boy, but might depict something more sexually loaded. Or "Doodle," in which random shapes are stitched in white on a black background to no clear end.

If Blair's work is most memorable for its content about her trailer-dwelling kin, then Page's form leaves the biggest impression. Page has a great gimmick on her hands and she executes it with aplomb. Page customizes vintage photographs with giggle-inducing head cozies — hoods and masks, fuzzy arms and lavish collars that partially bury the refined identities in an avalanche of silliness. Part of the appeal of her work is the random quality of the armature in which she shrouds her vintage folk. It can suggest luchador masks, Egyptian or Mayan headgear, owls, cardinals or moth heads or the kind of homemade brain-warmers plunked on young heads by overzealous mothers during the winter months. It's a masked ball. It's a nut house. It's irresistible.

It's refreshing to see a juxtaposition of such different takes on sewn-art, as Blair and Page take stitching in promising new directions, both angry and adorable."
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Stephanie Blair, featured along with Stacey Page in the stitch-centric ''Crossbred'', could hardly be described as ladylike, given her tendency to drop the occasional f-bomb into her sewn text. Blair's layered work has a purposeful grittiness, and there's a subversive energy in her minimalist, free-form stitching of both text and image. The art's look and feel evoke Raymond Pettibon's similarly impulsive drawings. Blair stitches Catholic imagery and primal creatures that suggest Aztec drawings, but also creates photo-based silkscreens on fabric such as "Stoned Family," which depicts a group of men playing guitar in a cramped kitchen. Blair houses her fabric works in conventional frames, but just as often employs round embroidery hoops for that extra measure of homemade ethos.

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Blair gets props for ambition, but she could stand to edit and tighten her work. The autobiographical core often becomes weighed down by imprecise and distractingly oblique visuals. The murkiness of some of the images and of Blair's intent can muddy some promising material, as in the painted work "Flirting," which appears to depict a little girl taking a pugilist jab at a small boy, but might depict something more sexually loaded. Or "Doodle," in which random shapes are stitched in white on a black background to no clear end.

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Stephanie Blair, featured along with Stacey Page in the stitch-centric Crossbred, could hardly be described as ladylike, given her tendency to drop the occasional f-bomb into her sewn text. Blair's layered work has a purposeful grittiness, and there's a subversive energy in her minimalist, free-form stitching of both text and image. The art's look and feel evoke Raymond Pettibon's similarly impulsive drawings. Blair stitches Catholic imagery and primal creatures that suggest Aztec drawings, but also creates photo-based silkscreens on fabric such as "Stoned Family," which depicts a group of men playing guitar in a cramped kitchen. Blair houses her fabric works in conventional frames, but just as often employs round embroidery hoops for that extra measure of homemade ethos.

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Blair gets props for ambition, but she could stand to edit and tighten her work. The autobiographical core often becomes weighed down by imprecise and distractingly oblique visuals. The murkiness of some of the images and of Blair's intent can muddy some promising material, as in the painted work "Flirting," which appears to depict a little girl taking a pugilist jab at a small boy, but might depict something more sexually loaded. Or "Doodle," in which random shapes are stitched in white on a black background to no clear end.

If Blair's work is most memorable for its content about her trailer-dwelling kin, then Page's form leaves the biggest impression. Page has a great gimmick on her hands and she executes it with aplomb. Page customizes vintage photographs with giggle-inducing head cozies — hoods and masks, fuzzy arms and lavish collars that partially bury the refined identities in an avalanche of silliness. Part of the appeal of her work is the random quality of the armature in which she shrouds her vintage folk. It can suggest luchador masks, Egyptian or Mayan headgear, owls, cardinals or moth heads or the kind of homemade brain-warmers plunked on young heads by overzealous mothers during the winter months. It's a masked ball. It's a nut house. It's irresistible.

It's refreshing to see a juxtaposition of such different takes on sewn-art, as Blair and Page take stitching in promising new directions, both angry and adorable.             13060927 3336660                          Young Blood show needles tradition with subversive sewing "
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Tuesday June 14, 2011 03:30 pm EDT
Crossbred Thread: Ego and Memory will leave you in stitches | more...
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  string(3070) "The double trouble Paper Twins show at Get This! Gallery is a tale of two Southern ladies, one whose family hails from Mississippi and the other from the still deeper South of Peru. Both have a shared yen for the emotional undertow of a home left far behind. In Gone With the Twins, the pair offers an ironic nod to that central fiction in the South's self-aggrandizement, of a plucky miss with dirt under her nails triumphing over adversity and some damn Yankees. Post-modernist ladies aware of the past's slippery nature, the Paper Twins qualify their show with the caveat "don't be fooled; experiences and stories are distorted with time."

A little background first. Distinguished by their gender and style, the Twins have been throwing up their richly detailed wheat pastes on walls (and occasionally in galleries such as Mint) around Atlanta since the summer of 2009. The Paper Twins' street art often features adventurous indie girls who don't just occupy urban space but interact with it. Their images feel literary and shaded next to the blaring Krylon dips and swirls of some of their boy cohorts. Gone With the Twins is a move in a deeper direction toward something more complete and resonant you long to see incorporated into the public sphere.

In order to protect their anonymity, the Twins have adopted the aliases of Edgar and Nica. While their looking homeward is a shared strain of Gone with the Twins, their styles are distinct. Nica's characters, who have expressions more limned with worry and suffering than Edgar's, are ablaze with evocative tropical color: clothing and Crayola houses and Peruvian streets decorated with neon-hued political posters. Like most everything remembered, there's a shimmer of hyperbolic nostalgia, acknowledged in the funny airbrushed signs on the gallery wall advertising their own show in Spanish.

If Nica's palette is the color of earth, bright sun and the ebullient chords of the Peruvian folk music played in the gallery, Edgar takes her hues from faded cotton dresses and experience worn away to memory. A gallery wall covered in individual spray-paint blossoms called "Wallpaper Flowers" suggests '20s wallpaper whose background has faded to leave only the after-images of fat magnolias.

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Thursday June 2, 2011 04:00 pm EDT
Gone With the Twins offers an ironic nod to the South's self-aggrandizement | more...
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  string(2762) "If Larry Flynt decided to turn away from T&A and try his hand at art making, it might look something like the lascivious and lark-filled work of Nashville artist Adrienne Outlaw. Like the climactic scene in Roman Polanski's horror film Repulsion, in which a wall comes alive with groping, reaching hands, Outlaw's solo show Witch's Brew has turned the walls at Whitespace Gallery into a riot of randy, outlandish protuberances. The tubers, velveteen phalluses, breast- and snake-like structures are often surrounded by fur or encrusted with beads, and command attention with their sticky-outy-ness.

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Friday May 27, 2011 01:00 pm EDT
Artist cooks up a heady concoction with Witch's Brew | more...
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Hogancamp, like many writers and artists before him, took refuge in a world of his own creation and governed by rules he rained down from above. He named it Marwencol. Marwencol is a WWII Belgian village located outside Hogancamp's mobile home built from wood scraps in 1/6 scale. It takes its name from an amalgam of Mark's name and the names of two Kingston women he once pined for: Wendy and Colleen. In Marwencol, Malibu Barbies with perpetually blissed-out expressions string Nazis up like slaughtered venison, and gamey soldier boys huddle together in teary fits of brotherhood. It's as if outsider artist Henry Darger, with his violently hell-raising "Vivian girls," hooked up with doll-photographer Laurie Simmons to stage scenarios of bloody girl-power scripted by Quentin Tarantino.

Marwencol became Hogancamp's escape, someplace he could disappear, as well as the artist's own improvised therapy. Created after his physical therapy money was cut off, Marwencol allowed him to work on his fine motor skills by painting makeup on itty-bitty doll faces or cocking Tic-Tac sized pistols.

Currently, the Westside gallery  offers a small sliver of Hogancamp's world in photographs with the exhibit Marwencol, brought to Atlanta in part through the passionate interest of Atlanta native David Naugle. Naugle is an Atlanta College of Art-schooled photographer, whose avocation has been documenting the lives and work of people one might describe as "characters." When Naugle relocated to Kingston in 2003, he struck up a friendship with Hogancamp and one day found a package of photographs in his mailbox inscribed with the words "this is my world." "He started photographing these just to prove to his friends and people he worked with that these things were so real," says Naugle, who now lives in Decatur with his wife and two children.

Naugle's interest created a domino effect: An editor friend at the art journal Esopus featured Hogancamp's work in a 2005 issue; Hogancamp then landed a show at the Manhattan gallery White Columns; and he became the subject of the acclaimed 2010 documentary on his life and work, Marwencol by Jeff Malmberg.

Hogancamp uses a point-and-shoot Pentax with a broken light meter that might have seriously impaired another photographer's ability to create polished images. Despite that crude tool, Hogancamp nevertheless breathes life into Marwencol's inanimate objects, distilling his obsessions and emotions into this tiny world with an uncanny ring of truth.

Marwencol is composed of 23 small images taken by Hogancamp and allows a glimpse of life in the village: a group of chipper Barbie dolls cavorting at a Marwencol bar; a German sniper taking aim in a snowy landscape. The photos are hung in the gallery like an excited, breathless rush of words, crushed in together. Within the capacious , the relatively small-scale 4x6 and 3 1/2x5 images can feel like a slim showing. But what the photographs do convey is the fascinating obsessiveness in Hogancamp's approach. Naugle points out that the images' veracity is due in large part to Hogancamp's creative use of deep focus photography and his eye for clever props, such as a toothpaste cap and Christmas tree light fused to create the illusion of a lamp. The images also carry a palatable sense of innocence: They feel like a child's notion of adult life.

Alongside Hogancamp's images in Marwencol are six of Naugle's photographs of the artist at work, hovering like a benevolent Japanese movie monster over Marwencol's miniature town. Like Hogancamp's own images, where sex, violence and tenderness collide, Naugle's work shows some of the gorgeous contradictions of Hogancamp's worldview. On the shelf inside Hogancamp's trailer, for instance, a cadre of Barbies sits like Stepford Wives on their lunch hour, surrounded by WWII and Vietnam imagery, a magazine shot of Princess Diana, and a photo of a baby-faced Hogancamp in his Navy days.

Marwencol definitely leaves one craving more: more Marwencol and more news of this fascinating man. Perhaps the ultimate meta-Marwencol narrative is already in the works. Naugle recently discovered that Hogancamp has been devising a world-within-a-world inside Marwencol. In this new wrinkle, Hogancamp's doll alter ego "Hogie" creates models of yet another miniature village in 1/32 scale. The mind reels at the possibilities."
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Hogancamp, like many writers and artists before him, took refuge in a world of his own creation and governed by rules he rained down from above. He named it Marwencol. Marwencol is a WWII Belgian village located outside Hogancamp's mobile home built from wood scraps in 1/6 scale. It takes its name from an amalgam of Mark's name and the names of two Kingston women he once pined for: Wendy and Colleen. In Marwencol, Malibu Barbies with perpetually blissed-out expressions string Nazis up like slaughtered venison, and gamey soldier boys huddle together in teary fits of brotherhood. It's as if outsider artist Henry Darger, with his violently hell-raising "Vivian girls," hooked up with doll-photographer Laurie Simmons to stage scenarios of bloody girl-power scripted by Quentin Tarantino.

Marwencol became Hogancamp's escape, someplace he could disappear, as well as the artist's own improvised therapy. Created after his physical therapy money was cut off, Marwencol allowed him to work on his fine motor skills by painting makeup on itty-bitty doll faces or cocking Tic-Tac sized pistols.

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Naugle's interest created a domino effect: An editor friend at the art journal ''Esopus'' featured Hogancamp's work in a 2005 issue; Hogancamp then landed a show at the Manhattan gallery White Columns; and he became the subject of the acclaimed 2010 documentary on his life and work, ''Marwencol'' by Jeff Malmberg.

Hogancamp uses a point-and-shoot Pentax with a broken light meter that might have seriously impaired another photographer's ability to create polished images. Despite that crude tool, Hogancamp nevertheless breathes life into Marwencol's inanimate objects, distilling his obsessions and emotions into this tiny world with an uncanny ring of truth.

''Marwencol'' is composed of 23 small images taken by Hogancamp and allows a glimpse of life in the village: a group of chipper Barbie dolls cavorting at a Marwencol bar; a German sniper taking aim in a snowy landscape. The photos are hung in the gallery like an excited, breathless rush of words, crushed in together. Within the capacious {Poem 88}, the relatively small-scale 4x6 and 3 1/2x5 images can feel like a slim showing. But what the photographs do convey is the fascinating obsessiveness in Hogancamp's approach. Naugle points out that the images' veracity is due in large part to Hogancamp's creative use of deep focus photography and his eye for clever props, such as a toothpaste cap and Christmas tree light fused to create the illusion of a lamp. The images also carry a palatable sense of innocence: They feel like a child's notion of adult life.

Alongside Hogancamp's images in ''Marwencol'' are six of Naugle's photographs of the artist at work, hovering like a benevolent Japanese movie monster over Marwencol's miniature town. Like Hogancamp's own images, where sex, violence and tenderness collide, Naugle's work shows some of the gorgeous contradictions of Hogancamp's worldview. On the shelf inside Hogancamp's trailer, for instance, a cadre of Barbies sits like Stepford Wives on their lunch hour, surrounded by WWII and Vietnam imagery, a magazine shot of Princess Diana, and a photo of a baby-faced Hogancamp in his Navy days.

''Marwencol'' definitely leaves one craving more: more Marwencol and more news of this fascinating man. Perhaps the ultimate meta-Marwencol narrative is already in the works. Naugle recently discovered that Hogancamp has been devising a world-within-a-world inside Marwencol. In this new wrinkle, Hogancamp's doll alter ego "Hogie" creates models of yet another miniature village in 1/32 scale. The mind reels at the possibilities."
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  string(5647) "   mark hogancamp New York artist's imaginary world resonates with bitter truths   2011-05-23T19:30:00+00:00 Mark Hogancamp dolls up misfortune in Marwencol   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-05-23T19:30:00+00:00  Mark Hogancamp has long been a familiar feature of the rural landscape of Kingston, N.Y. He regularly walks the twisting forest roads, pulling a miniature Army jeep loaded with Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe-type action figures, while hewing closely to the shoulder's white line for balance. In his World War II helmet and bomber jacket, the stocky 49-year-old is a visual non sequitur: tough and butch on the outside, fragile and emotionally vulnerable on the inside. Hogancamp's story is both delightfully odd and incredibly sad, a life defined by the search for love, occasional homelessness and profound alcoholism. In what has become the defining event of his life, Hogancamp was viciously attacked 11 years ago when he confided to a stranger in a bar that he was a cross-dresser. In return, that man and four of his friends beat Hogancamp so severely he suffered brain damage, lost his memory, and his ability to write and walk.

Hogancamp, like many writers and artists before him, took refuge in a world of his own creation and governed by rules he rained down from above. He named it Marwencol. Marwencol is a WWII Belgian village located outside Hogancamp's mobile home built from wood scraps in 1/6 scale. It takes its name from an amalgam of Mark's name and the names of two Kingston women he once pined for: Wendy and Colleen. In Marwencol, Malibu Barbies with perpetually blissed-out expressions string Nazis up like slaughtered venison, and gamey soldier boys huddle together in teary fits of brotherhood. It's as if outsider artist Henry Darger, with his violently hell-raising "Vivian girls," hooked up with doll-photographer Laurie Simmons to stage scenarios of bloody girl-power scripted by Quentin Tarantino.

Marwencol became Hogancamp's escape, someplace he could disappear, as well as the artist's own improvised therapy. Created after his physical therapy money was cut off, Marwencol allowed him to work on his fine motor skills by painting makeup on itty-bitty doll faces or cocking Tic-Tac sized pistols.

Currently, the Westside gallery  offers a small sliver of Hogancamp's world in photographs with the exhibit Marwencol, brought to Atlanta in part through the passionate interest of Atlanta native David Naugle. Naugle is an Atlanta College of Art-schooled photographer, whose avocation has been documenting the lives and work of people one might describe as "characters." When Naugle relocated to Kingston in 2003, he struck up a friendship with Hogancamp and one day found a package of photographs in his mailbox inscribed with the words "this is my world." "He started photographing these just to prove to his friends and people he worked with that these things were so real," says Naugle, who now lives in Decatur with his wife and two children.

Naugle's interest created a domino effect: An editor friend at the art journal Esopus featured Hogancamp's work in a 2005 issue; Hogancamp then landed a show at the Manhattan gallery White Columns; and he became the subject of the acclaimed 2010 documentary on his life and work, Marwencol by Jeff Malmberg.

Hogancamp uses a point-and-shoot Pentax with a broken light meter that might have seriously impaired another photographer's ability to create polished images. Despite that crude tool, Hogancamp nevertheless breathes life into Marwencol's inanimate objects, distilling his obsessions and emotions into this tiny world with an uncanny ring of truth.

Marwencol is composed of 23 small images taken by Hogancamp and allows a glimpse of life in the village: a group of chipper Barbie dolls cavorting at a Marwencol bar; a German sniper taking aim in a snowy landscape. The photos are hung in the gallery like an excited, breathless rush of words, crushed in together. Within the capacious , the relatively small-scale 4x6 and 3 1/2x5 images can feel like a slim showing. But what the photographs do convey is the fascinating obsessiveness in Hogancamp's approach. Naugle points out that the images' veracity is due in large part to Hogancamp's creative use of deep focus photography and his eye for clever props, such as a toothpaste cap and Christmas tree light fused to create the illusion of a lamp. The images also carry a palatable sense of innocence: They feel like a child's notion of adult life.

Alongside Hogancamp's images in Marwencol are six of Naugle's photographs of the artist at work, hovering like a benevolent Japanese movie monster over Marwencol's miniature town. Like Hogancamp's own images, where sex, violence and tenderness collide, Naugle's work shows some of the gorgeous contradictions of Hogancamp's worldview. On the shelf inside Hogancamp's trailer, for instance, a cadre of Barbies sits like Stepford Wives on their lunch hour, surrounded by WWII and Vietnam imagery, a magazine shot of Princess Diana, and a photo of a baby-faced Hogancamp in his Navy days.

Marwencol definitely leaves one craving more: more Marwencol and more news of this fascinating man. Perhaps the ultimate meta-Marwencol narrative is already in the works. Naugle recently discovered that Hogancamp has been devising a world-within-a-world inside Marwencol. In this new wrinkle, Hogancamp's doll alter ego "Hogie" creates models of yet another miniature village in 1/32 scale. The mind reels at the possibilities.           "Mark Hogancamp"   13060526 3242079                          Mark Hogancamp dolls up misfortune in Marwencol "
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Monday May 23, 2011 03:30 pm EDT
New York artist's imaginary world resonates with bitter truths | more...
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  string(52) "The Magic Theatre runs wild in a mythological mashup"
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  string(3039) "Demented and delightful, Brad Johnston's The Magic Theatre is a mashup of mythology puréed and spat out in artwork that feels both oddly familiar and brain-ticklingly strange. Johnston draws from countless narratives, including the Bible, Greek mythology, fairy tales, American folklore, maybe even a little Hayao Miyazaki, for an examination of belief, death, deceit, betrayal and the buff, heroic dudes that unite all such tales. The Magic Theatre has minotaurs, Cerberus hellhounds, anthropomorphic animals galore, and more bearded woodsmen than Brooklyn.

Johnston does it all: lithographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, woodcuts, etchings, wooden skull banjos and miniature Kitty Kat proscenium stages. If you asked Johnston to whittle you a cocktail, he just might. Does the SCAD-Atlanta graduate student bite off more than he can chew? Perhaps. But MFA students anxious to account for how they spent the past two years often play the field a little.

The work is a reckoning with the great questions of life: Where do we go when we die? Who made us? Do you wanna buy a used watch? There is no better summation of the stakes of Johnston's game than "As Above, So Below" an epic graphite drawing in which above-ground animals engage in activities that intimate the great dirt nap ahead: Scampish monkeys wave portentous hourglasses to warn of the passage of time; a fox in a pope-hat preaches sermons about what's to come. All of these harbingers of mortality play out in the world below, which is hilariously demarcated with the kind of dashed line you'd find in a coloring book.

Johnston has a knack for rendering beady little penlight eyes and matted, musky fur in touchable veracity. If you are susceptible to fits of cooing at the sight of small woodland creatures engaged in irrepressible hijinks, prepare yourself for the cuteness juggernaut. Even when they're being stinkers, Johnston's critters are certifiably cuddly. No one sketches a stuffed monkey or a Scotty dog like this Connecticut native. But it's not all hugs and wet kisses in Johnston's world. There is also a diabolical streak among his animals, as evidenced by the highly inked oxen and badass bear whose missing eye suggests knife fights in Orlando biker bars or other unsavory backstories.

A favorite furry motif is Johnston's grifter fox often outfitted in an eye patch — think Fantastic Mr. Fox meets that ex-con with the roadside barbecue stand. If children's book illustrator Richard Scarry ever tried his hand at cataloguing vice, he could do no better than Johnston's etching "World of Trickery," a comprehensive breakdown of the many ways in which his feisty foxes can fleece their fellow forest folk. Your eyeballs blaze across the image taking in each instance of quaintly antiquated petty crime more delicious than the last: the dopey turtle preparing to sacrifice his pocket money in Mr. Fox's shell game, the dim-wit monkey about to get caught in Mr. Fox's carefully rigged trap baited with a pork chop. So cute! So naughty! So cautionary! "
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Johnston does it all: lithographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, woodcuts, etchings, wooden skull banjos and miniature Kitty Kat proscenium stages. If you asked Johnston to whittle you a cocktail, he just might. Does the SCAD-Atlanta graduate student bite off more than he can chew? Perhaps. But MFA students anxious to account for how they spent the past two years often play the field a little.

The work is a reckoning with the great questions of life: Where do we go when we die? Who made us? Do you wanna buy a used watch? There is no better summation of the stakes of Johnston's game than "As Above, So Below" an epic graphite drawing in which above-ground animals engage in activities that intimate the great dirt nap ahead: Scampish monkeys wave portentous hourglasses to warn of the passage of time; a fox in a pope-hat preaches sermons about what's to come. All of these harbingers of mortality play out in the world below, which is hilariously demarcated with the kind of dashed line you'd find in a coloring book.

Johnston has a knack for rendering beady little penlight eyes and matted, musky fur in touchable veracity. If you are susceptible to fits of cooing at the sight of small woodland creatures engaged in irrepressible hijinks, prepare yourself for the cuteness juggernaut. Even when they're being stinkers, Johnston's critters are certifiably cuddly. No one sketches a stuffed monkey or a Scotty dog like this Connecticut native. But it's not all hugs and wet kisses in Johnston's world. There is also a diabolical streak among his animals, as evidenced by the highly inked oxen and badass bear whose missing eye suggests knife fights in Orlando biker bars or other unsavory backstories.

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  string(3316) "    The Magic Theatre runs wild in a mythological mashup   2011-05-17T18:00:00+00:00 Brad Johnston will tickle your furry bone   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-05-17T18:00:00+00:00  Demented and delightful, Brad Johnston's The Magic Theatre is a mashup of mythology puréed and spat out in artwork that feels both oddly familiar and brain-ticklingly strange. Johnston draws from countless narratives, including the Bible, Greek mythology, fairy tales, American folklore, maybe even a little Hayao Miyazaki, for an examination of belief, death, deceit, betrayal and the buff, heroic dudes that unite all such tales. The Magic Theatre has minotaurs, Cerberus hellhounds, anthropomorphic animals galore, and more bearded woodsmen than Brooklyn.

Johnston does it all: lithographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, woodcuts, etchings, wooden skull banjos and miniature Kitty Kat proscenium stages. If you asked Johnston to whittle you a cocktail, he just might. Does the SCAD-Atlanta graduate student bite off more than he can chew? Perhaps. But MFA students anxious to account for how they spent the past two years often play the field a little.

The work is a reckoning with the great questions of life: Where do we go when we die? Who made us? Do you wanna buy a used watch? There is no better summation of the stakes of Johnston's game than "As Above, So Below" an epic graphite drawing in which above-ground animals engage in activities that intimate the great dirt nap ahead: Scampish monkeys wave portentous hourglasses to warn of the passage of time; a fox in a pope-hat preaches sermons about what's to come. All of these harbingers of mortality play out in the world below, which is hilariously demarcated with the kind of dashed line you'd find in a coloring book.

Johnston has a knack for rendering beady little penlight eyes and matted, musky fur in touchable veracity. If you are susceptible to fits of cooing at the sight of small woodland creatures engaged in irrepressible hijinks, prepare yourself for the cuteness juggernaut. Even when they're being stinkers, Johnston's critters are certifiably cuddly. No one sketches a stuffed monkey or a Scotty dog like this Connecticut native. But it's not all hugs and wet kisses in Johnston's world. There is also a diabolical streak among his animals, as evidenced by the highly inked oxen and badass bear whose missing eye suggests knife fights in Orlando biker bars or other unsavory backstories.

A favorite furry motif is Johnston's grifter fox often outfitted in an eye patch — think Fantastic Mr. Fox meets that ex-con with the roadside barbecue stand. If children's book illustrator Richard Scarry ever tried his hand at cataloguing vice, he could do no better than Johnston's etching "World of Trickery," a comprehensive breakdown of the many ways in which his feisty foxes can fleece their fellow forest folk. Your eyeballs blaze across the image taking in each instance of quaintly antiquated petty crime more delicious than the last: the dopey turtle preparing to sacrifice his pocket money in Mr. Fox's shell game, the dim-wit monkey about to get caught in Mr. Fox's carefully rigged trap baited with a pork chop. So cute! So naughty! So cautionary!              13060398 3215667                          Brad Johnston will tickle your furry bone "
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Tuesday May 17, 2011 02:00 pm EDT
The Magic Theatre runs wild in a mythological mashup | more...
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  string(3367) "Something about the advent of color photography can make black and white feel as antiquated to our modern, techie sensibilities as cave paintings. Thus, the occasionally old-school, painterly feel of Mark Making in Black and White at Sandler Hudson Gallery.

The show's three painters may share a color scheme, but for the most part they occupy worlds all their own. Brett Smith is the hothead thrill seeker of the bunch: His paintings buzz and vibrate with life. His chosen medium is pastel on paper, which gives his drawings a lovely chalky, blurred quality like lighting bugs caught in a jar. A succession of "Space Structure Drawings" features forms with the look of a DNA helix or Tinker Toys — fat globs of connective-tissue black joined by long, spindly lines. The forms move away, they come together, they do-si-do and roundelay like chorus girls in a Broadway show. Conveying movement from stasis is Smith's drug. "Spring Fireworks" grabs you by the scruff from across the room and draws you near with its frantic explosion of fuzzy black forms, which look like dandelion heads projecting out onto the virgin white paper. Smith positions that little orb of activity in just one section of the vast paper expanse, an off-kilter, nicely wacky framing that arrests your attention.

Alex Brewer, who moonlights as an Atlanta graffiti artist, channels some of the energy and bricolage of the street to his paintings and drawings in Mark Making in Black and White. Paintings such as "Continued Days," with its layers of black, white, and grey on panel, have the complexity and sense of time's passage found in city wall palimpsests layered with decades of paint, advertisements and graffiti. Beneath the patterned surface of the painting — a repeated circuit of crescents — are splatters and drips that revel in the material of their creation. Showing a thrilling range, Brewer's large paintings display an authoritative command of space. "Untitled" is a representative piece, as sprawling and complex as any cityscape seen from above; a landscape of dense, busy energy surrounded by vast open spaces and satellites of smaller bundles of activity.

But Brewer is far from a one-trick pony. His series of 6-inch-by-4-inch piquant, witty ink-and-graphite drawings conveys a sense of humor and play that isn't so discernible in his paintings. These arch, concise works on paper look like some addled visionary's napkin sketch of a harebrained idea. There is a souvlaki-like swirl of meaty activity suspended on a long, thin tether in one. A cloud of pollution floats to the top of another drawing. The cryptic little musings might be a message or just mania made concrete.

If Smith and Brewer are men of scrawling, sprawling action, Dixie Purvis is the wallflower of the trio, a painter defined by discretion and serenity whose enveloping swaths of milky white and oily black mask her under layers of color. A scratched, distressed, worked-over surface attests to the painter's hand. The works feel somber and shrouded, like a self-conscious woman in a figure-masking dress.

Painting, especially this kind of abstract, mark-making obsessed kind, can sometimes seem like the most exotic thing going in an art scene where novelty can be overprivileged. Mark Making in Black and White is a reminder that sometimes it's nice to get back to the classics."
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The show's three painters may share a color scheme, but for the most part they occupy worlds all their own. Brett Smith is the hothead thrill seeker of the bunch: His paintings buzz and vibrate with life. His chosen medium is pastel on paper, which gives his drawings a lovely chalky, blurred quality like lighting bugs caught in a jar. A succession of "Space Structure Drawings" features forms with the look of a DNA helix or Tinker Toys — fat globs of connective-tissue black joined by long, spindly lines. The forms move away, they come together, they do-si-do and roundelay like chorus girls in a Broadway show. Conveying movement from stasis is Smith's drug. "Spring Fireworks" grabs you by the scruff from across the room and draws you near with its frantic explosion of fuzzy black forms, which look like dandelion heads projecting out onto the virgin white paper. Smith positions that little orb of activity in just one section of the vast paper expanse, an off-kilter, nicely wacky framing that arrests your attention.

Alex Brewer, who moonlights as an Atlanta graffiti artist, channels some of the energy and bricolage of the street to his paintings and drawings in ''Mark Making in Black and White''. Paintings such as "Continued Days," with its layers of black, white, and grey on panel, have the complexity and sense of time's passage found in city wall palimpsests layered with decades of paint, advertisements and graffiti. Beneath the patterned surface of the painting — a repeated circuit of crescents — are splatters and drips that revel in the material of their creation. Showing a thrilling range, Brewer's large paintings display an authoritative command of space. "Untitled" is a representative piece, as sprawling and complex as any cityscape seen from above; a landscape of dense, busy energy surrounded by vast open spaces and satellites of smaller bundles of activity.

But Brewer is far from a one-trick pony. His series of 6-inch-by-4-inch piquant, witty ink-and-graphite drawings conveys a sense of humor and play that isn't so discernible in his paintings. These arch, concise works on paper look like some addled visionary's napkin sketch of a harebrained idea. There is a souvlaki-like swirl of meaty activity suspended on a long, thin tether in one. A cloud of pollution floats to the top of another drawing. The cryptic little musings might be a message or just mania made concrete.

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Painting, especially this kind of abstract, mark-making obsessed kind, can sometimes seem like the most exotic thing going in an art scene where novelty can be overprivileged. ''Mark Making in Black and White'' is a reminder that sometimes it's nice to get back to the classics."
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Friday April 29, 2011 04:00 am EDT
Brett Smith, Alex Brewer and Dixie Purvis' simple palette turns out complex results | more...
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  string(3844) "In his intimate, humanistic snapshots, peripatetic father of modern photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson catches people splayed out raw and tender on city streets: whores in Mexican brothels, Roman schoolchildren playing in apartment stairwells, an entire family in the Netherlands furiously scrubbing the sidewalk outside its home. The guts of people's realities are all out there for the rapacious gazing in the sumptuous banquet Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century at the High Museum through May 29.

The photographer documents profound emotions played out in public, as in "New York City," which shows a mother and son reunited after the war. They embrace, lost within each other in the midst of a vast human tumult — they represent every union damaged or destroyed in war. The work reminds one of the theatrical dimension of city life; the enormous gravity and impact of intimate gestures played out in public spaces. It's impossible not to compare how private and sequestered our lives are today. Throughout the exhibit, you can see that process of greater isolation gradually fall, like a widow's veil, over the world. In the exhibition's final room, titled "Modern Times," Cartier-Bresson shows people shopping for sofas or gazing longingly into shop windows — beginning the process of nesting and consuming, ad infinitum. The four walls of civilization begin to bear down on the images, the fresh air and sunlight and sense of joyous community Cartier-Bresson captures early on leeching away with the advent of showrooms and heavy industry and wall-to-wall advertising.

Wall text acknowledges the "romantic nostalgia" in Cartier-Bresson's work. Blue-collar workers picnicking by the Marne River in "Juvisy, France" or a young French couple posed for a photograph on the sidewalk amid a wreath of posies in "Rue De Turenne, Paris" show the sense of life-loving, nearly aristocratic pleasure in daily existence. Before television made the exotic ubiquitous, Cartier-Bresson's images captured the enchantment, the thrill of distant lands, when the Other was enticing, not scary, as reflected in the banned burkas and reviled immigrants of modern France and America. The Modern Century leaves a lump in your throat that may be nostalgia but feels closer to heartsickness — like gazing upon civilization in its idealistic, innocent, carefree youth before cynicism and regret sunk into its old bones.

The work seems as primal as cave painting and Genesis, a series of origin myths documenting events that have since passed into near-legend, such as Gandhi's funeral, world war, the Chinese revolution, segregation. The work feels like home movie footage of the birth of civilization, the photographic record of what defines us today. Like God, Cartier-Bresson seemed to be everywhere.

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Article

Friday April 22, 2011 04:00 am EDT
The Modern Century like gazing upon civilization in its idealistic, carefree youth | more...
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  string(3015) "Meta Gary's Animal Instinct at Emily Amy Gallery offers a peek into the fascinating process of a young artist finding her way; sorting through possibilities, ideas and styles. By turns awkward and divine, Gary's painterly obsession is an anthropomorphic hocus-pocus in which animals act like people and people act like beasts. Dapper roosters wear blue oxfords and dinner jackets, boys in ursine hats imagine themselves as grizzly bears, and upright rabbits in jeans and T-shirts perform mysterious experiments on subjugated bison-slaves. Who's in control here? One minute animals have the keys to the kingdom and the next they're back on all fours: The rules change from picture to picture in the Fantastic Mr. Fox-meets-Where the Wild Things Are illogic of Gary's fanciful imagination. With their wooden backdrops and juicy acrylic color schemes, Gary's paintings can suggest a child's toy blocks intent on goosing imaginations rather than teaching the ABCs.

The work can be exceedingly clever and strange in all the best ways. "With the Softest Steps" is a case in point, a combination of delicate wood burning and graphite on wood featuring a beguiling forest vignette. Gary exploits her material with a wink, using the knotholes and other imperfections of the wood's surface to create a pond from which a deer sips as a boy dressed in a bear-hat creeps up on the doe. The minimalist, slight but heady works achieve a pitch-perfect blend of lo-fi materials and high-concept execution.

Gary creates a world with its own laws and logic but there is a consistent idea of the human encroaching on the wild — and vice versa. Blue jays assault phone booths in "Privacy by Agreement." A wolf skulks through a grey, industrial landscape in "You've Got a Glow About You," one of the building's windows emitting a graphic column of colorful smoke to suggest a human presence.

But ultimately it's nature that hogs the spotlight. In Gary's hands the natural world is a glam, excitement-generating place, far more interesting than anything the humans could offer. Peacocks radiate hot-pink stripes like sun rays and a hawk has a starburst of crimson Kapowing! behind its head. Gary uses graphic symbols to suggest the call of a crow, the howl of a wolf, or to draw attention to some element of the image. In "Defragmenting Three," a wolf framed against a blood-red moon with his head tossed back to emit a wail unleashes a graphic, cubist cloud. It's a supremely sexy, rock 'n' roll image.

If Gary has a downside, it's a tendency toward uneven technique in which her painting abilities trail off: You long for the work to either get more nebulous, paint-by-numbers with fat chunks of unblended color, or more realist, but the work wavers back and forth.

Another common Gary pitfall is packing too much visual froufrou into too tight a space. Less tends to be more in Gary's work. Most often the cleanest, simplest compositions are the most arresting. As long as Gary is working that angle, the wolves are gonna howl. "
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But ultimately it's nature that hogs the spotlight. In Gary's hands the natural world is a glam, excitement-generating place, far more interesting than anything the humans could offer. Peacocks radiate hot-pink stripes like sun rays and a hawk has a starburst of crimson Kapowing! behind its head. Gary uses graphic symbols to suggest the call of a crow, the howl of a wolf, or to draw attention to some element of the image. In "Defragmenting Three," a wolf framed against a blood-red moon with his head tossed back to emit a wail unleashes a graphic, cubist cloud. It's a supremely sexy, rock 'n' roll image.

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Another common Gary pitfall is packing too much visual froufrou into too tight a space. Less tends to be more in Gary's work. Most often the cleanest, simplest compositions are the most arresting. As long as Gary is working that angle, the wolves are gonna howl. "
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But ultimately it's nature that hogs the spotlight. In Gary's hands the natural world is a glam, excitement-generating place, far more interesting than anything the humans could offer. Peacocks radiate hot-pink stripes like sun rays and a hawk has a starburst of crimson Kapowing! behind its head. Gary uses graphic symbols to suggest the call of a crow, the howl of a wolf, or to draw attention to some element of the image. In "Defragmenting Three," a wolf framed against a blood-red moon with his head tossed back to emit a wail unleashes a graphic, cubist cloud. It's a supremely sexy, rock 'n' roll image.

If Gary has a downside, it's a tendency toward uneven technique in which her painting abilities trail off: You long for the work to either get more nebulous, paint-by-numbers with fat chunks of unblended color, or more realist, but the work wavers back and forth.

Another common Gary pitfall is packing too much visual froufrou into too tight a space. Less tends to be more in Gary's work. Most often the cleanest, simplest compositions are the most arresting. As long as Gary is working that angle, the wolves are gonna howl.              13059742 3075632                          Meta Gary imagines a new world order in Animal Instinct "
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Friday April 15, 2011 04:00 am EDT
The painter performs an anthropomorphic hocus-pocus at Emily Amy Gallery | more...
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  string(3181) "Groupies, meth, Jack Daniel's, cocaine, tattoos, Glocks: New York artist Carter Kustera's black silhouettes of rock 'n' roll vices are arranged in a pattern of 20 square images on the gallery wall at Solomon Projects. It looks like a quilt grandma might have made — if granny had been a jailbird.

Kustera's graphic, mud-flap-ready images celebrate all that is naughty but seductive about making music. Steeped in the short-and-sweet wit of T-shirts and bumper stickers, Kustera's gouache-on-paper work sets the pace for the rest of the Solomon Projects show Something Along the Lines of Rock 'n' Roll. Sometimes work in the exhibit struggles to keep up, as in Amy Landesberg's limp sound check "Rosewood Swag," which seems to belong in a different show entirely, and Amy Pleasant's wispy, overshadowed Gummo-esque figure studies.

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While Kustera channels the more overt up-all-night, bad-behavior strain of rock 'n' roll, Joe Peragine steams up the gallery windows with the covert hot-house energy, twisted influences, and river of dude-ness that suggest a teenage rock fan's bedroom wall. Peragine's contribution to the show is a collaged exorcism of the artist's inspirations splattered like Sid Vicious' lunch onto one wall of the gallery. Never have Peragine's thrillingly mad influences mashed up so well to create their own wicked, cacophonous score, steeped in the rock 'n' roll urge for obliteration.

The longtime Atlanta artist has always tapped into a fascinating boy-adventure vein that allows symbolically fragile bunny rabbits to coexist alongside images of manly war and mayhem. Peragine's dizziness-inducing wall is like getting every life stage of the American male's psyche, from babyhood to manhood. But all at once. There are watercolors of battle-hardened he-men, scrappy dudes encircled by pythons, sculptures of tanks and army ants, and a short animation of homicidal clowns standing in for the artist's sublimated rage-wearing-a-happy-face.

More Lady Gaga than Lollapalooza, former Atlantan Karen Rich Beall examines her usual subject area of natural world weirdness and mutation, and all of the quotidian perversity unfurling at ankle level in yards and gardens. Beall uses felted wool and thread to create technically superb creatures bursting by turns, with sexual abundance and intimations of death and dying. Her work "Hybrid" is a high point, a kinky cornucopia of impossibly lewd lemons and fecund, eruptive plant forms that make it look like Larry Flynt's fruit bowl. Suspended from the ceiling, the rude, colorful natural world phantasmagoria bursts into Little Shop of Horrors mutated life.

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Kustera's graphic, mud-flap-ready images celebrate all that is naughty but seductive about making music. Steeped in the short-and-sweet wit of T-shirts and bumper stickers, Kustera's gouache-on-paper work sets the pace for the rest of the Solomon Projects show ''Something Along the Lines of Rock 'n' Roll''. Sometimes work in the exhibit struggles to keep up, as in Amy Landesberg's limp sound check "Rosewood Swag," which seems to belong in a different show entirely, and Amy Pleasant's wispy, overshadowed ''Gummo''-esque figure studies.

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It may not be rock 'n' roll. But I like it, I like it, yes I do. "
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  string(3528) "    Something Along the Lines of Rock 'n' Roll is more like an entertaining cover band than a well-oiled act   2011-04-08T08:00:00+00:00 Solomon Projects rock show hits high and low notes   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-04-08T08:00:00+00:00  Groupies, meth, Jack Daniel's, cocaine, tattoos, Glocks: New York artist Carter Kustera's black silhouettes of rock 'n' roll vices are arranged in a pattern of 20 square images on the gallery wall at Solomon Projects. It looks like a quilt grandma might have made — if granny had been a jailbird.

Kustera's graphic, mud-flap-ready images celebrate all that is naughty but seductive about making music. Steeped in the short-and-sweet wit of T-shirts and bumper stickers, Kustera's gouache-on-paper work sets the pace for the rest of the Solomon Projects show Something Along the Lines of Rock 'n' Roll. Sometimes work in the exhibit struggles to keep up, as in Amy Landesberg's limp sound check "Rosewood Swag," which seems to belong in a different show entirely, and Amy Pleasant's wispy, overshadowed Gummo-esque figure studies.

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While Kustera channels the more overt up-all-night, bad-behavior strain of rock 'n' roll, Joe Peragine steams up the gallery windows with the covert hot-house energy, twisted influences, and river of dude-ness that suggest a teenage rock fan's bedroom wall. Peragine's contribution to the show is a collaged exorcism of the artist's inspirations splattered like Sid Vicious' lunch onto one wall of the gallery. Never have Peragine's thrillingly mad influences mashed up so well to create their own wicked, cacophonous score, steeped in the rock 'n' roll urge for obliteration.

The longtime Atlanta artist has always tapped into a fascinating boy-adventure vein that allows symbolically fragile bunny rabbits to coexist alongside images of manly war and mayhem. Peragine's dizziness-inducing wall is like getting every life stage of the American male's psyche, from babyhood to manhood. But all at once. There are watercolors of battle-hardened he-men, scrappy dudes encircled by pythons, sculptures of tanks and army ants, and a short animation of homicidal clowns standing in for the artist's sublimated rage-wearing-a-happy-face.

More Lady Gaga than Lollapalooza, former Atlantan Karen Rich Beall examines her usual subject area of natural world weirdness and mutation, and all of the quotidian perversity unfurling at ankle level in yards and gardens. Beall uses felted wool and thread to create technically superb creatures bursting by turns, with sexual abundance and intimations of death and dying. Her work "Hybrid" is a high point, a kinky cornucopia of impossibly lewd lemons and fecund, eruptive plant forms that make it look like Larry Flynt's fruit bowl. Suspended from the ceiling, the rude, colorful natural world phantasmagoria bursts into Little Shop of Horrors mutated life.

It may not be rock 'n' roll. But I like it, I like it, yes I do.              13059589 3044869                          Solomon Projects rock show hits high and low notes "
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Friday April 8, 2011 04:00 am EDT
Something Along the Lines of Rock 'n' Roll is more like an entertaining cover band than a well-oiled act | more...
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  string(3243) "Visions of '50s bark cloth textiles and vintage sofa art featuring abstracted fruit bowls, Joan Miro, cave paintings, Picasso and more swirl around artist Jill Storthz's deliriously time-tripping Woodcuts at Get This! Gallery.

While so many artists chase the next big thing, Storthz is an unapologetic throwback. If "Mad Men's" Don Draper were a tad groovier and more prone to hitting up Manhattan's starving artists rather than bedding every sweet young thing he comes across, he might have something along the lines of Woodcuts on his bachelor pad walls.

The San Francisco artist carves her woodcuts from Japanese basswood and inks them in matte, chalky colors. The works' rich, two-tone backgrounds have the depth and texture of fabric and summon the color schemes of black-and-pink vintage bathroom tiles, institutional green linoleum and other delightfully outmoded shades. Some of Storthz's earthy, organic quality no doubt originates in the woodblock process with its traditional gestures of carving and printing, lending something elemental and salt-of-the-earth to the work.

Works such as "Matchbook," with its blend of fleshy pinks and heather greys and graphic imagery of suns and palm trees, show how definitively certain color schemes speak to a particular time and place, as instantly evocative as the whiff of a familiar perfume or the strains of a favorite melody.

It makes one ponder the shades our own era will be remembered for: nacho cheese orange? Fake-tan brown? Starbucks green? Stainless steel grey? You don't have to have lived through the '50s to appreciate Storthz's image bank, though she kind of makes you wish you had.

The work is a mind-meld of the ancient and the mod. In the borderline wacky "Space Surf" her array of surfboards are ornamented with decoration that conjures up the color scheme of '50s atomic ranch interiors and the patterns of Maori Indian tattoos and Tiki in place of the amoeboid blobs and graphic sparkles that defined the '50s sensibility. Storthz's shapes are sensuous, elongated, kinetic, sometimes coalescing into recognizable form and sometimes hanging in some liminal space between thing and not-thing. The slinky "Twist," for instance, could suggest a tethered hot air balloon contorting in the wind or simply the titular gesture.

Storthz's images have a semi-cartoon sensibility: The graphic, simple images can look like the abstracted, repeated backdrops of tree-sun-bush-tree-sun-bush that scroll by as Fred Flintstone or Wile E. Coyote gambol across their comic landscapes. In the fruity colored "Stained Glass Windows," the succession of half moon shapes piled one on top of the other suggest Russian nesting dolls, or the church form as a kind of sheltering maternal figure.

Storthz's images vary considerably, from charming but often one-note graphics like "Desert Sun" with its cobalt blue sky and tangerine molten sun to the truly sublime "Cathedral" set against a pitch-black background. The striated, crystal-like shards of the cathedral's facade cut into the sky, the lines suggestively urging the building into contact with heaven. "Cathedral's" got it all: form and content, beauty and brains. It's the artist at the top of her game. C

arts@creativeloafing.com"
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  string(3285) "Visions of '50s bark cloth textiles and vintage sofa art featuring abstracted fruit bowls, Joan Miro, cave paintings, Picasso and more swirl around artist Jill Storthz's deliriously time-tripping ''Woodcuts'' at Get This! Gallery.

While so many artists chase the next big thing, Storthz is an unapologetic throwback. If "Mad Men's" Don Draper were a tad groovier and more prone to hitting up Manhattan's starving artists rather than bedding every sweet young thing he comes across, he might have something along the lines of ''Woodcuts'' on his bachelor pad walls.

The San Francisco artist carves her woodcuts from Japanese basswood and inks them in matte, chalky colors. The works' rich, two-tone backgrounds have the depth and texture of fabric and summon the color schemes of black-and-pink vintage bathroom tiles, institutional green linoleum and other delightfully outmoded shades. Some of Storthz's earthy, organic quality no doubt originates in the woodblock process with its traditional gestures of carving and printing, lending something elemental and salt-of-the-earth to the work.

Works such as "Matchbook," with its blend of fleshy pinks and heather greys and graphic imagery of suns and palm trees, show how definitively certain color schemes speak to a particular time and place, as instantly evocative as the whiff of a familiar perfume or the strains of a favorite melody.

It makes one ponder the shades our own era will be remembered for: nacho cheese orange? Fake-tan brown? Starbucks green? Stainless steel grey? You don't have to have lived through the '50s to appreciate Storthz's image bank, though she kind of makes you wish you had.

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Storthz's images have a semi-cartoon sensibility: The graphic, simple images can look like the abstracted, repeated backdrops of tree-sun-bush-tree-sun-bush that scroll by as Fred Flintstone or Wile E. Coyote gambol across their comic landscapes. In the fruity colored "Stained Glass Windows," the succession of half moon shapes piled one on top of the other suggest Russian nesting dolls, or the church form as a kind of sheltering maternal figure.

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[mailto:arts@creativeloafing.com|arts@creativeloafing.com]"
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  string(3578) "    If 'Mad Men's' Don Draper were a tad groovier, something like Storthz's work might hang in his pad   2011-04-04T13:00:00+00:00 Jill Storthz's Woodcuts offers a '50s flashback   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-04-04T13:00:00+00:00  Visions of '50s bark cloth textiles and vintage sofa art featuring abstracted fruit bowls, Joan Miro, cave paintings, Picasso and more swirl around artist Jill Storthz's deliriously time-tripping Woodcuts at Get This! Gallery.

While so many artists chase the next big thing, Storthz is an unapologetic throwback. If "Mad Men's" Don Draper were a tad groovier and more prone to hitting up Manhattan's starving artists rather than bedding every sweet young thing he comes across, he might have something along the lines of Woodcuts on his bachelor pad walls.

The San Francisco artist carves her woodcuts from Japanese basswood and inks them in matte, chalky colors. The works' rich, two-tone backgrounds have the depth and texture of fabric and summon the color schemes of black-and-pink vintage bathroom tiles, institutional green linoleum and other delightfully outmoded shades. Some of Storthz's earthy, organic quality no doubt originates in the woodblock process with its traditional gestures of carving and printing, lending something elemental and salt-of-the-earth to the work.

Works such as "Matchbook," with its blend of fleshy pinks and heather greys and graphic imagery of suns and palm trees, show how definitively certain color schemes speak to a particular time and place, as instantly evocative as the whiff of a familiar perfume or the strains of a favorite melody.

It makes one ponder the shades our own era will be remembered for: nacho cheese orange? Fake-tan brown? Starbucks green? Stainless steel grey? You don't have to have lived through the '50s to appreciate Storthz's image bank, though she kind of makes you wish you had.

The work is a mind-meld of the ancient and the mod. In the borderline wacky "Space Surf" her array of surfboards are ornamented with decoration that conjures up the color scheme of '50s atomic ranch interiors and the patterns of Maori Indian tattoos and Tiki in place of the amoeboid blobs and graphic sparkles that defined the '50s sensibility. Storthz's shapes are sensuous, elongated, kinetic, sometimes coalescing into recognizable form and sometimes hanging in some liminal space between thing and not-thing. The slinky "Twist," for instance, could suggest a tethered hot air balloon contorting in the wind or simply the titular gesture.

Storthz's images have a semi-cartoon sensibility: The graphic, simple images can look like the abstracted, repeated backdrops of tree-sun-bush-tree-sun-bush that scroll by as Fred Flintstone or Wile E. Coyote gambol across their comic landscapes. In the fruity colored "Stained Glass Windows," the succession of half moon shapes piled one on top of the other suggest Russian nesting dolls, or the church form as a kind of sheltering maternal figure.

Storthz's images vary considerably, from charming but often one-note graphics like "Desert Sun" with its cobalt blue sky and tangerine molten sun to the truly sublime "Cathedral" set against a pitch-black background. The striated, crystal-like shards of the cathedral's facade cut into the sky, the lines suggestively urging the building into contact with heaven. "Cathedral's" got it all: form and content, beauty and brains. It's the artist at the top of her game. C

arts@creativeloafing.com             13059468 3028506                          Jill Storthz's Woodcuts offers a '50s flashback "
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Monday April 4, 2011 09:00 am EDT
If 'Mad Men's' Don Draper were a tad groovier, something like Storthz's work might hang in his pad | more...
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  string(3215) "If there wasn't classic rock playing in the background at Barbara Archer Gallery you'd swear there was the rhythmic beat of rattles and drums coming off of Mr. Imagination, né Gregory Warmack's work in his self-titled show. There is something kinetic, propulsive and pulsating emanating from the walls. There is a rattle and hum coming off them like heat waves radiating from Georgia asphalt in this celebrated visionary artist's work that has found a home in venues as varied as the Smithsonian Institution and the House of Blues.

Part of that sense of musicality is the artist's busy, frenetic, eclectic material. Mr. Imagination is all about reworking the salvaged refuse of a consumer society to create his shrines, animals, thrones and oddball humanoid figures with paintbrush or snake bodies. When clustered together — hands on hip and all attitude — the works tend to look like a funk band at rest. Among other things, the work is about thrift and economy and making something meaningful and beautiful out of the sacks of crap we haul to the curb every day. Magpie resourceful, Mr. Imagination is drawn to shiny things to feather his artistic nest: CDs, beads, soda pop tabs, plastic wiring, drinking straws, spark plugs, buttons, cowry shells, corks, sewing needles, bits of mirror and the dense plaster that he uses to sculpt his faces all are featured.

Mr. Imagination's show at Barbara Archer Gallery is yet another assertion that when it comes to crazed and magical feats of artistic imagination, even the zaniest conceptual artist with his poop-making machines and nude feats of endurance can't hold a candle to your average outsider artist. Mr. Imagination is a case in point, a man with a lexicon that becomes weirder the longer you ponder it. The central figure of his art is a man resembling the artist with brown skin, a regal bearing, caterpillar black eyebrows, triangular nose, blindingly white corneas and hair — depending upon the artist's whims — composed of metal wire, paint brushes or toilet bowl scrubbers. There is something enormously endearing and visually anarchic about these serious male figures with sinuous snake or paint brush bodies. It's hard not to think of Jim Henson's Muppets. It's their incongruity that makes the pieces appealing: big heads, little bodies, serious faces, and then the slightly humiliating circumstance of having a paintbrush handle where a torso should be.

An important element of this celebrated visionary artist's personal mythology has been a string of hardships, including a devastating fire that destroyed his Pennsylvania home and studio in 2008 and propelled his move to Atlanta two years ago. Not one to let a few charred sculptures hold him back, and true to the resourceful nature of his name, a good portion of the pieces at Barbara Archer have the look of ancient artifacts. The Miller Lite and Michelob bottle cap logos have been charred beyond recognition as have the paintbrushes and glittering beads, leaving behind uniformly singed pieces with the totemic power of ancient African figurines. They seem both tragic and powerful at the same time. Like Mr. Imagination himself, they have, hopefully, weathered the worst of it. "
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Thursday March 24, 2011 04:00 am EDT
There's something visually anarchic about the artist's self-titled show | more...
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  string(3360) "There is something innately fascinating about hidden worlds: the subway tunnels that underlie cities; the phosphorescent creatures lurking in the ocean's sunless depths; the insular subcultures of bikers and circus folk. New Orleans photographer Lisette de Boisblanc's photos in Taken by the Fog at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery (which moves to the Westside this month) document a hidden world, too, one that serves as a metaphor for the similar intangibles that lurk inside our own flesh casings.

Something between a photographer and a scientist (in fact, the artist once worked in science), de Boisblanc has X-rayed a bevy of her grandmother's dolls against an inky black background. The images bear a distinct resemblance to Man Ray's photograms, which used sunlight to achieve a similarly ghostly image.

The result of de Boisblanc's X-ray process is an eerie catalogue of the hidden innards of these creatures rescued from their watery post-Katrina graves. Inside, there are elaborate networks of weights and strings that allow a baby doll's eyes to open and close or which anchor arms and legs to torsos. There are also sharp metal pins and pieces, some of which appear to be part of the dolls' mechanics and some more mysterious in origin. The images conjure up the sadism of little children, shearing their baby dolls' hair off or plunging daggers into their bodies. But they can also evoke more disturbing scenarios, of child abuse and its secret, hidden wounds. The works are chilling for being so evocative of human injury as in "Interview with the Ward Part 1," which depicts a G.I. Joe action figure. The doll's ready-for-battle sneer suddenly looks more like the rictus of death. Splayed out and seen from above, he resembles a battlefield casualty.

The hidden networks lurking inside de Boisblanc's dolls bring to mind circulatory systems and spinal columns but also suggest some abstracted brain or consciousness. The systems take on the characteristics of their age. The porcelain dolls have jerry-rigged systems within their porky, plump bodies. But the Barbie-type dolls have guts as sleek and squared-away as the Space Age that spawned them.

De Boisblanc's close-up images of her baby dolls' faces are the eeriest, reminiscent of the jarred embryos of freak shows and medical labs. With their fake, painted-on features obliterated in the X-ray process, they bear an uncanny resemblance to real babies. Their faces have an unformed but still recognizable appearance, with tiny gaping mouths open in some existential wail, black pits for eyes, their fat, amorphous heads floating in an amniotic universe of pitch black. In the creepy little triptych "Zen," a kind of fetal form lurks inside a plastic casing. It appears to be a doll whose emotions can change depending upon how its head is turned, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities warring to get out.

I know what you're thinking. Photographs of dolls ... really? Haven't we trod this road before? De Boisblanc's work certainly has an easily digestible quality that could allow it to be seen only for its superficially strange, gothic air. But there are ripples of something uncannier in this compelling work. There is a reminder of mortality and the tribulations of our own experiences to give these ghostly creatures intellectual heft and something deeper than simple shock value. "
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  string(3368) "There is something innately fascinating about hidden worlds: the subway tunnels that underlie cities; the phosphorescent creatures lurking in the ocean's sunless depths; the insular subcultures of bikers and circus folk. New Orleans photographer Lisette de Boisblanc's photos in ''Taken by the Fog'' at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery (which moves to the Westside this month) document a hidden world, too, one that serves as a metaphor for the similar intangibles that lurk inside our own flesh casings.

Something between a photographer and a scientist (in fact, the artist once worked in science), de Boisblanc has X-rayed a bevy of her grandmother's dolls against an inky black background. The images bear a distinct resemblance to Man Ray's photograms, which used sunlight to achieve a similarly ghostly image.

The result of de Boisblanc's X-ray process is an eerie catalogue of the hidden innards of these creatures rescued from their watery post-Katrina graves. Inside, there are elaborate networks of weights and strings that allow a baby doll's eyes to open and close or which anchor arms and legs to torsos. There are also sharp metal pins and pieces, some of which appear to be part of the dolls' mechanics and some more mysterious in origin. The images conjure up the sadism of little children, shearing their baby dolls' hair off or plunging daggers into their bodies. But they can also evoke more disturbing scenarios, of child abuse and its secret, hidden wounds. The works are chilling for being so evocative of human injury as in "Interview with the Ward Part 1," which depicts a G.I. Joe action figure. The doll's ready-for-battle sneer suddenly looks more like the rictus of death. Splayed out and seen from above, he resembles a battlefield casualty.

The hidden networks lurking inside de Boisblanc's dolls bring to mind circulatory systems and spinal columns but also suggest some abstracted brain or consciousness. The systems take on the characteristics of their age. The porcelain dolls have jerry-rigged systems within their porky, plump bodies. But the Barbie-type dolls have guts as sleek and squared-away as the Space Age that spawned them.

De Boisblanc's close-up images of her baby dolls' faces are the eeriest, reminiscent of the jarred embryos of freak shows and medical labs. With their fake, painted-on features obliterated in the X-ray process, they bear an uncanny resemblance to real babies. Their faces have an unformed but still recognizable appearance, with tiny gaping mouths open in some existential wail, black pits for eyes, their fat, amorphous heads floating in an amniotic universe of pitch black. In the creepy little triptych "Zen," a kind of fetal form lurks inside a plastic casing. It appears to be a doll whose emotions can change depending upon how its head is turned, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities warring to get out.

I know what you're thinking. Photographs of dolls ... ''really''? Haven't we trod this road before? De Boisblanc's work certainly has an easily digestible quality that could allow it to be seen only for its superficially strange, gothic air. But there are ripples of something uncannier in this compelling work. There is a reminder of mortality and the tribulations of our own experiences to give these ghostly creatures intellectual heft and something deeper than simple shock value. "
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  string(3681) "    Taken by the Fog revels in de Boisblanc's eerie X-ray vision   2011-03-08T09:00:00+00:00 Photographer Lisette de Boisblanc can see right through you   Felicia Feaster 1223506 2011-03-08T09:00:00+00:00  There is something innately fascinating about hidden worlds: the subway tunnels that underlie cities; the phosphorescent creatures lurking in the ocean's sunless depths; the insular subcultures of bikers and circus folk. New Orleans photographer Lisette de Boisblanc's photos in Taken by the Fog at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery (which moves to the Westside this month) document a hidden world, too, one that serves as a metaphor for the similar intangibles that lurk inside our own flesh casings.

Something between a photographer and a scientist (in fact, the artist once worked in science), de Boisblanc has X-rayed a bevy of her grandmother's dolls against an inky black background. The images bear a distinct resemblance to Man Ray's photograms, which used sunlight to achieve a similarly ghostly image.

The result of de Boisblanc's X-ray process is an eerie catalogue of the hidden innards of these creatures rescued from their watery post-Katrina graves. Inside, there are elaborate networks of weights and strings that allow a baby doll's eyes to open and close or which anchor arms and legs to torsos. There are also sharp metal pins and pieces, some of which appear to be part of the dolls' mechanics and some more mysterious in origin. The images conjure up the sadism of little children, shearing their baby dolls' hair off or plunging daggers into their bodies. But they can also evoke more disturbing scenarios, of child abuse and its secret, hidden wounds. The works are chilling for being so evocative of human injury as in "Interview with the Ward Part 1," which depicts a G.I. Joe action figure. The doll's ready-for-battle sneer suddenly looks more like the rictus of death. Splayed out and seen from above, he resembles a battlefield casualty.

The hidden networks lurking inside de Boisblanc's dolls bring to mind circulatory systems and spinal columns but also suggest some abstracted brain or consciousness. The systems take on the characteristics of their age. The porcelain dolls have jerry-rigged systems within their porky, plump bodies. But the Barbie-type dolls have guts as sleek and squared-away as the Space Age that spawned them.

De Boisblanc's close-up images of her baby dolls' faces are the eeriest, reminiscent of the jarred embryos of freak shows and medical labs. With their fake, painted-on features obliterated in the X-ray process, they bear an uncanny resemblance to real babies. Their faces have an unformed but still recognizable appearance, with tiny gaping mouths open in some existential wail, black pits for eyes, their fat, amorphous heads floating in an amniotic universe of pitch black. In the creepy little triptych "Zen," a kind of fetal form lurks inside a plastic casing. It appears to be a doll whose emotions can change depending upon how its head is turned, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities warring to get out.

I know what you're thinking. Photographs of dolls ... really? Haven't we trod this road before? De Boisblanc's work certainly has an easily digestible quality that could allow it to be seen only for its superficially strange, gothic air. But there are ripples of something uncannier in this compelling work. There is a reminder of mortality and the tribulations of our own experiences to give these ghostly creatures intellectual heft and something deeper than simple shock value.              13058871 2906649                          Photographer Lisette de Boisblanc can see right through you "
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Article

Tuesday March 8, 2011 04:00 am EST
Taken by the Fog revels in de Boisblanc's eerie X-ray vision | more...