Drawing from religion and other things

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It seems like only yesterday that Spector Gallery‘s exciting show “Drawing for It 2” opened. And here it is closing Friday and we haven’t told you about it. Bad on us.

From Huston Ripley‘s tantric magico-religio-satanico drawings on layers of tissue paper to JT Waldman‘s graphic novelization of the Book of Esther, “Megillat Esther,” the works in this exhibit are eye-openers and these two at least demonstrate just how far you can go beyond religion — and still take it with you. (image is Huston Ripley, Untitled, Ink on tissue, 13″ x 9 1/2″)

As a Catholic who seeks to run fast in the opposite direction every time words like bible, holy day or mass, comes up I find Ripley’s translations of East into West (the Kama Sutra of Jesus?) exhilarating. Dignified, obsessively focused on sex and bodies, the drawings are transgressive without being transgressive. I don’t know if it’s exorcism (begone sex tabus!) or what, but these randy, beautiful and haunting works are divinely inspired and divine. Ripley shows work at Fleisher-Ollman Gallery and as we’ve told you before, PAFA recently bought a couple drawings for its collection. See Libby’s post for more on that.

Waldman’s high-contrast graphic novel using Esther as its source is likewise a genre-twisting, East-West sparkler.

(image above and below are from Megillat Esther. I found the one above online. Below is “7 Ministers” pen and ink on bristol, 11″ x 17″ from the show.)

I searched a little on line for more on the book and found this great website using Waldman’s drawings from his book to discuss the biblical and textual underpinnings of Esther. It’s a great site. It’s published by Jewish Publication Society and you can read it in the gallery as well as see the original drawings on the wall.

Randall Sellershot-off-the drawing board “The Map-Readers” is a great Sellers piece, notable, as gallerist Spector told me when I saw the show, for reaching the edges of the paper. (Think about it, other Sellers works float like gems in the middle of a sea of white space. This one — and it was Sellers’ goal, apparently — has sprawl! It goes east and west and south and almost hits the northern edge.) As with other works in the artist’s ouervre, touch is a mainstay of the story. Human touch is so important and so overlooked in much art — to say nothing of in life — and Sellers’ focus on people lightly caressing or nudging or touching each other is a reminder of how important the skin to skin connection is. (image is Sellers’ “The Map-Readers,” graphite on paper, 7 1/2″ by 10 1/2″)

Matthew Fisher
‘s forlorn soldiers, whom we at artblog are particularly partial to, (sorry no image of what’s in the show — didn’t have my camera with me) here, interact with the animal and vegetable kindgom in a great suite of works, one of which has a hold on it for a museum). There’s other delightful biological and zoological specimens and other inner musings on paper — all worth checking out — by Elizabeth Haidle, Amanda Miller, Caitlin Perkins, Willie Condry and Hiro Sakaguchi. I don’t have time to tell you about them all. Just don’t miss the show. Gallery hours are Thursday and Friday 2-6 pm. And watch out because Red Dot, the town’s premier cash and carry holiday sale is around the corner, Dec. 16, 17, 18.

[Ed. note: This post was written before the Spector Red Dot banner ad went up. Honestly. We have reputations to uphold here. We love who we love and there are no quid pro quotas.]

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