Friday favorite things

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I saw three shows recently that tickled me. They’re big group shows and two involve out of towners and one is a local round up. The work all has a kind of forlorn edge to it, partly due to subject matter and partly due to materials.

Here’s a peek, just some pictures to get you thinking about going to see them.

Libby wrote about the Russian Dolls show at Space 1026. Read her post. Here are a couple of my faves, in a show that transcends precious. Gary Fogelson’s sexy dolls which had penis noses and lots of pubic hair and David Richard’s beaked family (you know me and birds).

Broken Western at 222 Gallery is a riff on the desert by artists who either grew up there (in Arizona) or live there now. The gallery did a nice job of painting the walls and strewing desert ambiance in the space — pebbles on the floor, wood posts on the walls. I’ve never been out West but I got a lot of cowboy trailer park Native American spiritual love and weirdness out of the show. The show’s got video, painting, prints and it’s all well done (although there were some glitches with viewing the videos).

I loved best the faux-wood painted coffins by Eamon Ore-Giron (image above is “Tank Coffin”). The coffins were cars and other vehicles, painted to look like they were made out of wood. There was a Flintstones affect that was appealing. They also had a knotty pine rec room trophy wall ambiance that I bought.

And for conceptual photography, I stopped dead in my tracks before Cody Cloud’s untitled works (image left and below). I’m not quite sure what the message is but the sense of loss and yearning in this work, set against a huge blue sky and man-made objects (the starburst and a dirty bar of Dove soap) is something I could look at for a while and contemplate.

By the way, two things about 222 Gallery. They’re open Monday-Friday noon-5 pm or by appointment. When I stopped in the other day, during their open time, there was nobody home. Luckily I had the Painted Bride next door with a great show, “Used” and they were open. After “Used,” about an hour later, I swung by 222 again and they were back. So be forewarned. Call or email for an appointment — or, as with Space 1026 — check it out at the opening, a time you know for sure there’ll be somebody home.

Secondly, 222 Gallery is media savvy and so is their website. Check out the gif-panning shots of the installation. Most wonderful.

Used at Painted Bride is artblog contributor Shelley Spector’s curated exhibit of seven artists who make use of the used. Most of the materials these artists transform are things you might expect (there’s a tree trunk, for example, by Teresa Jaynes; men’s suit jackets painted by Richard Metz (image) and some nice old gadgets and tools in constructions by Brian Marshall).

You can tell what the materials are and you can see what the artist has done to them.

But the surprise of the day are those works made from materials that were almost obliterated in their transformation — works like Alex Queral’s carved telephone book portrait heads, which rise like the Phoenix as something completely new. (image)

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