New solos for four at Abington

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Frank Vagnone
Locker, front view, by Frank Vagnone, tool box, glass vases, mixed

Using a strategy a number of galleries, like Pentimenti, use, Abington Art Center is hosting four small solo shows at once. And there’s another group of four scheduled to open Mar. 10.

Frank Vagnone
, one of the current four on exhibit until March 3, is the rare artist who makes bricolage art that is not overly precious. Instead, his conglomerations of objects and materials have a jury-rigged, held-together with string look (indeed, parts of them are held together with string).

Frank Vagnone
Locker, detail

They are gizmos that light, or threaten to topple, or have mechanical features that may or may not work. I especially liked the jar filled with nails, hanging on a string, that appeared to serve as counterweights for mirrors strung over a paint-roller pulley. The sculptures feature boxes hanging or on legs, sometimes boxes filled with things, parts that hang, little collections. Mirrors are big and consistent features, too, many of them deliberately etched by Vagnone, or fogged by time.

Frank Vagnone
Male, jewelry scale display box, etched mirror, various mixed

Each piece has a human quality, and a humorous quality, as if it’s surprising that the bodies we inhabit are still ticking. That same self-deprecating quality that these pieces suggest of a body on the verge of a nervous breakdown also suggest a body on the verge of a sexual breakdown. Will it still be able to attract a fellow traveler, given its precarious, unloveliness? Will it be able to perform without Cialis?

Frank Vagnone
I liked the mirror in front of the hearth, posing as a substitute fire. Above are watercolor plans for the sculptures.

But the body on the verge might also be the earth itself, suggested by some of the mirrors, which look like sky and maps.

I like an artist who can make me laugh and still have something serious to say–and do it with jars of nails and feed dispensers. bravo.

Vagnone was one of the artists included in Fleisher-Ollman’s Meat Balls (see Libby’s and Roberta’s posts.

Also at Abington are photograph-derived paintings by Kate Davis Caldwell (I especially liked the Polaroid paintings), material and pattern-driven topographical landscapes by Josephine Alcott, and immigrant family narratives in an installation from collaborators Yvonne Love & Gabrielle Russomagno. I’ve got images of work by all four artists at Flickr.

The next group of solo exhibits will by artists John Franklin, Lisa Murch, Richard Ryan, and Mauro Zamora.

Tags

Abington Art Center, Frank Vagnone

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