Light pours at Pageant

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Sonic Pretzel Mastadon, virtuoso cut paper, (detail) by Hunter Stabler. Click to see it bigger.

Cut paper to die for and thread used in un-thread-like ways — that’s the big news from Pageant Gallery this month in Everything is Lightpour, a two person show pairing Penn MFA candidate Hunter Stabler and Vox Populi member Xiang Yang.

Xiang Yang, piece with embroidery at two ends with thread spanning the void in the middle. Very nice piece.

Yang, whose embroidered images (from sources like magazines and the newspaper) and set in plastic take-out boxes have appeared at Spector Gallery and last year in a solo exhibit at Vox, has grown his m.o. from small to huge in one lovely work in which the embroidery thread spans what looks like an empty terrarium set on legs so that it’s at about eye-level. The piece is a marvel of technique and the work has a nice wavy, optical, cyber affect, especially as you stroll by the taut threads held in place by the stitches in each end of the terrarium.

Detail of Yang’s embroidery pieces in small plastic boxes.

It’s a delight to see a show that’s “whiz kid times two” with virtuoso technique all over the place. Even better, there’s content as well.

Stabler and Yang installation

Yang is about the displacement of identity in a foreign culture. His East by West labor intensive pieces are poignant and brittle, and speak of the emptiness that comes of feeling trapped in a culture that’s not your own.

Hunter Stabler “The most original subtle unique and illusive metaphor for mortality,” cut paper

Stabler also mines the East/West differences but he’s also grabbing on to time, going back and forth in imagery that is cyber-savvy as well as ancient evoking Buddha and other symbols from Eastern religions.

Hunter Stabler, “A shaving of the sun, or a crude sketch of the mandala tapestry of the Ding Goat Slain at the foot of the throne, amidst the grainbow vortex of the returning savior” cut paper

Stabler’s got some paintings in addition to the several jaw-dropping cut paper pieces. The paintings are all about war and war games and kid games and vid games. They, too have a virtuosity to them that comes from being hand-made and not screen printed or stencilled. Watch out for Stabler who’s definitely on the arblog radar now.

Hunter Stabler and Nathan Thomas Wilson “Swastikas the Axis,” oil on canvas

Pageant has had a great year with its two-person exhibits. Daniel Dalseth, the gallery’s brain trust, is having fun with it bringing in a trippy mix of work that’s visually full of wonders and intellectually challenging. Dalseth, himself an artist and art teacher (he’s teaching at SUNY Binghamton right now), will be having another solo show of Terry Adkins’ works sometime in the near future. (Dalseth was a student of Adkins’ at Penn.)

Pageant opened its doors with a spectacular Adkins show and I can’t wait for the next one.

By the way, I have a bunch of pictures from the show in a flickr set.