Cafe art

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Art that hangs on the walls in cafes and restaurants usually seems mismatched to the venue. Not so Matt Bollinger’s ink and graphite drawings at the Green Line Cafe in University City.

Previously, the cafe had had work from other serious artists–some paintings and some photos. The paintings, although they were lovely pieces of work, were the wrong scale and the wrong affect for the tiny cafe. The photos just melted into the walls, failing to catch enough casual attention, perhaps because photos are so much a part of our everyday world.

But Bollinger’s drawings seem to have just the right mix of size, of made-by-hand presence, of graphic qualities, and even of subject matter. The subjects include a rakishly angled view of boy who apparently fell asleep while playing outside (top “Under the Shrubs, Beside the Porch”), a group of men-in-suits exerting peer pressure (left, “Be A Good Boy Charlie”–sorry for the miserable picture quality), and a conventional study of the tight space in a neighborhood rowhouse backyard beneath a lit-up, boundless sky.

I also suspect that one of the reasons for this show’s success is the mesh of the affect of the work–a little old-fashioned and lovely and slightly off center, just like the cafe.

So although I’m not given to reporting on art in restaurants and such, I felt the desire to let you know about this little show.

Green Line, by the way, is owned in part by one of our contributors, Doug Witmer, who informed me this morning that my last post on who’s who at Spector Gallery reminded him of the “exhibitionists” page at the back of Art Matters. Ouch. Say it isn’t so, Doug.

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