Weekly Update – Summer dreaming at Fleisher-Ollman

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This week’s Weekly includes my review of Rip, Rig and Panic at Fleisher-Ollman Gallery. Below is the copy with a few more pictures. And here’s the link to the art page. For more, read Libby’s post on the show.

Let It “Rip”
Fleisher/Ollman’s summer show straddles realism and fairy tale.

Logs speak, pictures whisper and bookshelves cast long shadows in the exploded fairy tale of “Rip, Rig & Panic” at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery. Anda Dubinskis, Isaac Resnikoff and Mark Khaisman provide work that’s not too hot and not too cool, but just right for summer dreaming.

Anda Dubinskis
Dubinskis diptych showing the female woodcutter. As with all things fairy tale, the hint of repeated violence is a big suggestion. The axe, the box cutter, the knife, all of which make an appearance, are useful tools that can be subverted for not-so-good purposes.

The show’s undertow of sadness and regret is witnessed in Dubinskis’ paintings of a female woodcutter and the symbolic tree trunks she may be splitting, Khaisman’s pictures of people in ambiguous relationships, and Resnikoff’s twin towers of books. Yet whether there’s a moral in these evocative narrative works is up to the viewer to decide.

Few young artists make objects as lovingly as Isaac Resnikoff. The sculptor’s wood-carved coffeepot, candles, bar of soap and other everyday items evoke granddad whittling on the front porch. But Resnikoff’s metaphorical articles and his installations ask what it means to be American and what makes an object mythic.

Isaac Resnikoff
Resnikoff’s Complete History of America, Version 1 and 2

Resnikoff’s twin book towers, called The Complete History of the USA (Versions I and II), cast long shadows, both real and metaphorical. Books representing American thought from the Revolutionary War to the present fill the shelves, all carved in low relief. The idea that writings—as well as buildings—make their mark on the world is a great celebration of America’s strength at a time when grief is mostly what comes to mind in the context of twin towers.

Isaac Resnikoff
Resnikoff’s Death of a Sunshine Patriot, detail. The box cutter with its reference to 9/11 seems to include everyone and every object in its display of memorabilia.

Resnikoff’s Death of the Sunshine Patriot is also an elegy and a celebration. A song for the common man is represented by a picnic table adorned with carved memorabilia representing life.

Anda Dubinskis
Dubinski’s White Night. Click to see it bigger. Click all sizes to see it in all its glory–the texture and colors in the bark are yum.

Dubinskis’ oil paintings of tree trunk segments in extreme close-ups echo Resnikoff’s bookshelves in their suggestion of the mythic stature of what’s portrayed. The artist pairs her trees with the figure of a woman woodcarver in several diptychs. The forest heroine evokes the empowerment of Gretel who will save Hansel and kill the witch and live in peace in the woods. White Night, 2006 is a tree trunk apotheosis—wood deified and resplendent on a golden yellow ground. The icon is worthy of a pantheist’s chapel.

Mark Khaisman
Khaisman’s backlit tape on plexiglass piece, Pulled yourself together a bit? That’s better, showing domestic aggression against a dinner entree.

Mark Khaisman’s back-lit pictures made of packing tape on Plexiglas evoke the world of film noir, where emotional trouble lies thick between people caught up in anger and accusation. Khaisman’s works are as old and familiar as a sepia-toned photograph. Pulled Yourself Together a Bit? … That’s Better depicts an ambiguously gendered person in aggressive posture raising a knife in one hand. The figure repeats Dubinskis’ empowered female woodcutter, only here the scene is domestic and not sylvan, and what’s portrayed is violence against meat at the dinner table.

As with the best exhibits, allegiances among the works are numerous and yet a summary is impossible, since the objects operate by surreal logic available only through dreams, fairy tales, poetry and art.

More pictures at flickr.

“Rip, Rig & Panic” Through Sept. 1. Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, 1616 Walnut St., suite 100. 215.545.7562.

Tags

anda dubinskis, fleisher/ollman gallery, isaac resnikoff, mark khaisman, rip rig panic

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