Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chism at Ferrara; Estevez at Taylor Bercier


Sandy Chism paints images of roller coasters, bees and beehives, bucolic back yards and the tepid gray waves of lackadaisical seas in this cryptically titled SLIVER show. There is a pervasive shifting of scale, from micro to macro, in these pretty but perplexing juxtapositions of images that suggest visual puzzles, or even private jokes. In RUMBLE, a roller coaster ends abruptly in a slate colored patch of sky as detached banners flap in the breeze and mysterious globe-like orbs hover like gulls in an updraft. There are also polished steel panels featuring a fine scrimshaw of mysterious patterns behind shining silver studs that glimmer like little stars. What does it all mean? And should we be annoyed? In fact, there is a subtle order underlying the chaos in works like TENDING, where close-up views of bees in a honeycomb are joined by images of distant skyscrapers and a chain link fence bounding a funky front yard. Underlying her jarring and dystopian juxtapositions is a recurring pattern of interwoven matter and energy like a subliminal network that has the potential to knit things back together as life as we know it unravels all around us in a fatalistic, almost Walker Percy-ish sense of hope in the ruins.

Cuban-American artist Carlos Estevez explores the human experience through his remarkably inventive humanoid creations rendered in oil pigment and pencil on canvas. As schematic as architectural blueprints, yet as fantastical as visionary Victorian-era inventions, his marionette-like figures blur the boundaries between human role-playing and mechanical or structural engineering. In AMORES PARALELOS, a mechanistic male and female duo appear lost in their own little worlds as they play cellos that are also their torsos. In LA IDENTIDAD, a human head takes the form of archaic machinery and mysterious numerological diagrams in what amounts to an alchemical exploration of the human potential, or perhaps an algorithmic schematic of the imagination. ~Bookhardt

SLIVER:  New Paintings by Sandy Chism
Through April 14
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400a Julia St., 522-5471; www.jonathanferraragallery.com
SOLILOQUY:  New Work by Carlos Estevez
Through April 14
Taylor Bercier Fine Art, 233 Chartres St., 527-0072; www.taylorbercier.com