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Re-challenge and re-Ritchie

My review of the Fleisher Challenge 4 is in today’s Weekly. Read.

The work by Norm Paris and Daniel Heyman continues to be almost too topical. This morning’s news, for example, of a suicide bombing in Iraq and 50 Iraqis dead triggered anew my sense of despair over this mess of a world.
paris, norm
Not to beat a dead horse but art and artists can play a role here in providing expressions of outrage and in raising the question of why. Both Paris and Heyman do that in their works which either eliptically (in the case of Paris) or straightforwardly (in the case of Heyman) challenge status quo thinking. (top image is detail from Heyman’s painting “Rice Bowl Boy Goes to War.”)

In addition, Paris’s installation gives you an opportunity to be inside one of those “Matrix”-like, freeze-frame cyber battles. I’ve never wanted to go to the Universal Studios theme park or take a Hollywood studio tour. But I like the idea of debunking the magic in a context that brings real world politics in. (image is detail of Paris’s “Michael Jordan, Save the World.”)
feuer, lindsay
Lindsay Feuer‘s white porcelain objects, are, as Libby said in her post, first cousins to those of Rain Harris. But Feuer goes less far from her source of inspiration (nature) and thus keeps the focus off human nature whereas Harris’s focus is always on the human. I’m not sure that’s a missed opportunity or just a difference.

And in the Editors’ Choice section of the paper is my quick review of Matthew Ritchie‘s “Proposition Player” at the FWM. Read here.
ritchie, matthew
My bottom line on Ritchie, after letting my thoughts gel for a while, is that I’ll take Jim Houser any day. Houser, (whose solo show is up at Spector) is, like Ritchie, also an orchestrator of elements that make up a world. What Houser has going for him and what Ritchie lacks is a dailiness and humbleness that a regular Joe and Jane can tap into. Ritchie’s world is brittle, albeit beautiful and seductive. Houser’s world is as real as a cup of hot coffee in the morning. It’s a jolt of “wake up” and an embrace of good and bad that’s rooted in earth science (wind, water, plants) and not quantum physics. And just what is string theory’s relevance to me anyway? (image is detail of Houser’s show, “Babel” now at Spector.)
houser, jim