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Weekly Update – East Coast/West Coast at Pageant


This week’s Weekly has my review of East Coast/West Coast at Pageant Gallery. Below is the copy with some pictures. More photos at flickr.

Polar Explorers
An exhibition at Pageant Gallery examines opposites and innuendos.

“East Coast/West Coast” at Pageant: Soloveev Gallery has little to do with geography. What the group show seems to have on its mind is polarity and supposed opposites. The ideas are subtly handled, with art full of double meanings, innuendos and punch lines. Like The Sarah Silverman Program, the subtext is mightier than the surface.

Mikey Wild
Mikey Wild, detail, Demons and Angels, 30 acrylic paintings, at Pageant.

Mikey Wild’s Demons and Angels, a grid of 30 small acrylic paintings, comes close to expressing the AC/DC quality of the show all by itself. The paintings by the self-taught Philly fixture are of heads depicted in a washy, childish style that makes it hard to distinguish the angels from the demons. And when all is said and done, it doesn’t really matter. The guy with the widow’s peak and red lips—who’s to say he’s not somebody’s angel?

Michelle Colomer
Michelle Colomer’s Hawk (far wall). That’s Libby taking a picture.

Michele Colomer’s Hawk, a large graphite drawing of a bird of prey looking a little old and battle-scarred, is, at a time of war, clearly a depiction of more than just a bird.

Alex Da Corte, three photographs, Activity 11, Activity 13 and the Miracle
Alex Da Corte, three photographs, Activity 11, Activity 13 and the Miracle

Alex Da Corte’s three large digital photographs beg you to read between the lines. Two of the photos show a young man caught in midair while jumping on a twin bed in a white room. The boy-man wears nothing but colored Jockey underwear. The photos, shot from below, lop the subject off above the waist, focusing on the underwear and the manically splayed legs. In both pictures, childhood signifiers like a smiley face, balloons and birthday party swag convey a party atmosphere. The works have the deadpan titles Activity 11 and Activity 13, and something about the forced gaiety and ebullience—along with suggestions of a pedophile photo shoot—conveys the message that these pictures are really about the opposite of happiness and play.

Amy Kreiling
Amy Kreiling’s sculpture using the Columbia Encyclopedia and two shovels — a critique of history as something useless.

Harry Muniz, Amy Kreiling and Roy Williams offer what appear to be social critiques of war, Western-centric history books and our body-obsessed culture. Their elliptical approaches are refreshing in times as unsubtle as our own. And Alphonse Calatrava-Ruisenor’s lush painted plank of wood—abstract and beautiful—offers a far darker side when studied.

A little ambiguity and double meaning in art is good. A lot, as here, is a mental workout. But it’s worth it.

“East Coast/West Coast”
Through Nov. 4. Pageant: Soloveev Gallery, 607 Bainbridge St. 215.925.1535.