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Drawing at Spector

Because you never heard of Jombi Supastar and you think Isaiah Zagar has created far too many mirror murals, you might be under the impression that you can skip “Drawing for it,” a group show at Spector. That would be a mistake.

The show covers a trippy gamut from bravura representational drawing to hip cartoons and weird fantasy to outsider-looking work (that’s Supastar).

Supastar’s work includes childlike images on sweet pink paper, the subject matter sometimes as dark–a man gets knifed, for example–as the handling seems innocent and earnest. A riot of floating paper-white silhouettes emerge from a black pencil ground in “Jombi World” (shown here)and “I Have Nightmares”–reverse silhouettes recalling Picasso’s “Guernica,” but with a floaty, anti-polished quality. The handmade frames, spray-painted gold, and sometimes quite crooked, are the final touch.

Zagar’s work, fanciful autobiographical images of himself and his family–here’s “Julia and Dog Poop (Park)”–looks like crewel embroidery but is hand-dyed straw laid over Zagar’s drawings by Mexical folk-artist Luz M. Salinas. There’s a Chagalian joy of life here, plus an erotic punch and a folk-art beauty that bears little resemblance to Zagar’s more public work. To my taste, this is tops.

In contrast, Randall Sellers, one of Spector’s regulars, offers diminutive, bravura pencil drawings of people and microscopic romantic images of imagined cities on a hill that look modern and medieval at the same time. The images, drawn bare-eyed with a constantly sharpened pencil, can be viewed through the magnifying glass hanging there. The largest in the show (shown here) is 3.25 inches wide. But I also liked the familiarity of “Chris, Sean and Quentin Playing Risk During the Blizzard of 2001,” a rougher drawing that smelled of men being boys and boys playing at being men.

Fantasy permeates the show: Merrilee Challis’ body organs that grow on plants and under bell jars (see “Tabernacle” here) and snowglobes deserved to sell like hotcakes, and they did; Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Isaac Lin, alone and together, offer weird characters. I especially liked their collaboration “Time Peeper,” in which one cool urban creature slides its eyes to sneak a peek at another critter’s watch. Marc Manning’s fantasies of spirits in nature suggest a dark-sided pantheism.

And the noir drawings of Rob Matthews, catching himself in a beam of light as he sleeps or awakens, suggest Sam Spade as a boy, dreaming of monsters under the bed (check out the beautifully drawn relaxed shoulder and neck in “Light Dream 1,” not shown).

The whole show’s kind of like that–personal, familiar and fantastic, all at once.


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