Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fox at Chaisson; Bourghog Guild at 1022 Gallery


When painter Elizabeth Fox lived here years ago, she worked in an office and observed corporate social behavior with the eye of anthropologist. She saw how products are marketed and how sleekly attractive employees become social commodities. Here her edges were softened by Nola's innate baroque funk, but when she landed in Maine after Katrina, her figures inexplicably assumed a kind of California cool, as if Barbie and Ken had grown up to become corporate publicists in Hollywood. This is expressed in 4:30 FRIDAY, above, a visionary mannerist painting of three male success objects exiting an elevator into a reception room occupied by two efficiently sleek female executive-secretary sex objects. Coexisting with memos and flow charts are the manicured primal urges and pertly nuanced gestures that comprise the workaday rituals of our time. In REVOLVING DOOR, similar figures pass in as if in a trance, but the profile portrait LIZ IN THE WIND, right, epitomizes the flawlessness of a 21st century Venus-- the masterpiece of a veritable Botticelli of plastic surgery, as eternal as the tepid sea lapping the listless shore in the background.

All of which stands in stark contrast to the revelations presented in the Bourghog Guild's artifacts from a lost civilization at the 1022 Gallery in Carrollton. Rendered in a post-punk dadaist style of mixed media installations and apocalyptic pronouncements in a style self-described as "a vulgar and baroque spirit... a quasi-psychedelic southern head-trip," these untitled works present us with evidence of a parallel universe that is imploding even as our own familiar world of increasingly robotic global markets becomes an ever more virtual reality made up of inexorably connected electronic gadgets. But somewhere beneath America's anonymous suburban malls the ancient demons are stirring, and this Bourghog presentation, a visual extrapolation of a classic R&B aphorism, is intended as a warning that time may be on their side after all. ~Bookhardt

STAMINA IN THE DREAM HOUSE: Recent Oil paintings and sculpture by Elizabeth Fox, through Jan. 28, Martine Chaisson Gallery, 727 Camp St., 302-7942;
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: A PSYCHEDELIC SLAVE TRADE: Mixed Media Works by the Bourghog Guild, through Jan. 14, 1022 Gallery, 1022 Lowerline St. 301-0679;