Sunday, April 9, 2017

Katrina Andry and Michael Pajon at Ferrara

Have you ever felt nostalgic for nostalgia? Old movies, music and vintage objects open windows into our past while creatively nourishing the present, but lately a nostalgia for “good old days” that never were has morphed into a politicized pipe dream like an alternate reality. Nostalgia is at its best when the magic of the past is eloquently, insightfully, delineated, and Michael Pajon's An Appetite for Flesh, Bone, Lies and Cowardice collage is a poetic elegy for an old time horned devil. Inside his gaping, fang-festooned mouth is a hellish tableau of lost souls, executioners, fallen women and sows devouring corpses – a lovely reminder of vintage pop culture back in the days when hell had real showmanship. Nostalgia as a psychological mythology characterizes Oracle of Stars, (detail) top, a collage shaped like a Grecian urn adorned with a skinned centaur wielding a battle ax while carrying a 1920s flapper through fields of Trojan warriors, loose teeth and vintage pin-up girls as the astrological cosmos sparkles overhead. In Ophelia Beset by Suitors, a blond maiden arises from cobra-infested lilies amid an aureole of thorns, serpents, skulls and buzzards. Clearly, the past was a perilous place. In Tears of Blood Strengthen the Weak, above left, a commanding Allseeing Eye shining forth from a Christo-pagan Hand of Power imposes the equilibrium of antiquity on the chaos of the present. Cobbled from vintage ephemera, these sublime visions suggest that a cool head and stylistic savoir faire can overcome all perils. 

Katrina Andry has become known for her meticulous expressionistic woodcut prints that probe the old misunderstandings and societal dysfunctions that continue to plague modern life. Her new work incorporates monotype portraits of imperiled youth in chilling tableaux like Consequences of Being #2, left, where a black man's lifeless head festooned with flowers and handguns seems to almost melt into the earth.   It's About Hard Work, Not Crippling Handouts for the Poor celebrates entrepreneurship as a drug dealer plies his trade in a biting, reverse-mirror image of market-centric supply side consumerism. ~Bookhardt / Ex Libris: Collages and Drawings by Michael Pajon; Consequences of Being: Woodcut Prints by Katrina Andry, Through May 27, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia St., 522-5471.