May 1, 2013

Art: So many exhibits, so little time

Land of Tomorrow offers up ‘Seven Exhibitions’ by local and regional artists

“Seven Exhibitions” is now on view at Land of Tomorrow gallery, and I’ve only got 700 words. More than 50 works of art by half as many artists, of local and international renown, display the tremendous capacity of the gallery’s considerable space, and the diversity of mediums, genres and subject matters showcases the gallery’s commitment to a wide swathe of artists working today — to a thrilling result.

A collaboration with New York City’s RARE Gallery brings to Louisville the work of a handful of emerging artists whose work utilizes unusual material and techniques. According the gallery, the artwork “must be sincere in its intentions — sincerity tak(ing) precedence over irony and art about art.” Curated by Lexington’s Aaron Michael Skolnick, the show features ethereal drawings made with smoke by Daphne Arthur, a cheeky momento mori by Johnston Foster, who uses found and recycled materials to make his “Islands of Time” sculpture of an hourglass complete with skeletons rotting into a landscape inside it. My favorite piece in this show is Nathan Ritterpusch’s “Old Enough to be My Mother #64,” which uses paint to create the effect of wavy distortion reminiscent of interrupted analog TV signals imposed over the alluring faces of vintage vixens.

Dutch video-sculpture artist Katja Loher’s video projections on custom chairs, tables and hanging globes look as mod and futuristic as the Jetson’s kitchenette. Kaleidoscopic and candy-colored, each object holds a vignette featuring choreographed dancers interacting with food, flora and fauna, onto glass plates and cups playing with the idea of “The Last Supper” and art as nourishment — creating an environment of playful enchantment. Next door, Peter Haberkorn’s parachutes are pressed in a suspended animation in large Plexi frames in a flurry of down feathers, looking like specimen slides of vanquished giant squid. A wetsuit on a surfboard looms in the window like a surfing crucifix, also alluding to the spiritual nature of physical experiences.

Just in time for Derby, “Breeder’s Envy: (Makrospondylitic Thoroughbred Skeleton Mount)” by Zoé Strecker sits in the central corridor like a stretch limousine Hummer, an elongated horse skeleton possibly calling attention to the lengths we will go to in order to breed winning horses.

Across the hall, Joel McDonald’s “Plop Art” consists of several “turds” the size of steamer trunks under a light box suspended from the ceiling with a photo of an anus on it. Without help to interpret the work, it seemed a touch too literal, and I struggled to understand what to do with Claes Oldenburg-sized poops and a butt box other than giggle.

Sculptor Taylor Baldwin curated almost a dozen works for his show, “Thunder Perfect Mind.” Chris Mahonski’s “Dolla Bill Trick” is a sculpture that crackles with weird energy, like a divining rod suspended on a sacred stand, and ends up being a magpie’s diary of a cross-country cycling trip. Made from sticks, granite drill core, feather, bones, armadillo tail, moss, and a dollar bill, the thing looks like some kind of sacred primitive object on an instrument stand.

Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins’ “Google 2.0” is a wall with enormous googly eyes that follow you around the room. A literal play on the surveillance of our online lives, “Google 2.0” is a lighthearted way to remind you that you are being watched — kind of the opposite of the insidious and often alarmist way in which this phenomenon is discussed.

“The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved,” Hunter S. Thompson famously wrote, and this show, unfolding right before it like daffodils on I-71, is the same — decadent, depraved and diverse. Like the Derby, “Seven Exhibitions” is worth checking out.

‘Seven Exhibitions’
Through May 31
Land of Tomorrow (LOT)
233 W. Broadway
landoftomorrow.org 

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