Art for the theatre of your mind – Allison Reimus at Grizzly Grizzly

I stopped by Grizzly Grizzly last weekend to see the paintings by Allison Reimus and talk with GG members Bruce Wilhelm and Dennis Matthews. The scrappy little coop gallery keeps chugging along with one serious show after another. Reimus’s show presents heavily patterned canvases in surprising and rather old-fashioned colors (purples and reds with greens; some atomic yellows and metallic coppers and grays. The acrylic on wood works are theatrical. A couple of them could be backdrops for an opera or ballet. With their Art Nouveau patterning and grand scale they evoke sets right out of Wagner or Debussy’s L’Apres-midi d’un faun.  Listen to Debussy and Wagner here

Allison Reimus, acrylic on wood, at Grizzly Grizzly. Note the victorian “pouf” in the space, just like the “pouf” in the Picasso show at the PMA!

I don’t mean to imply that the paintings are pompous because they’re not. But, with their antique flavor and evocation (to this viewer) of spaces in which big, dramatic human gestures are at home, they bring to mind the theatrical warhorses.

Allison Reimus, acrylic on panel, Grizzly Grizzly

Don’t miss the one piece in the hallway outside the gallery which is Alice in Wonderland-like in its size-shifting. Here the diamond patterns on a red wall might be plausible for the odd room-like space suggested. But right around the corner from the red wall lurks a wall in a super-sized rosette patterning that looks like it could swallow you whole.

Allison Reimus, painting installed in the hallway outside Grizzly Grizzly

Chatting with GG’s Wilhelm and Matthews uncovered the fact that they’ve booked monthly shows through August, including a performance artist duo in May, for which they will also have a live band at the opening — not in their small space but in one of the large empty spaces down the hall. Wilhelm and Matthews had been to the Whitney Biennial and the art fairs and were thinking thoughts about curating. The group seems to be carving a niche for itself, showing works mostly by out of town artists who come to them through their various networks. It’s a great beginning. They want to do some exchange shows, they said, and that too sounds promising. I told them Grizzly Grizzly should do a meet-up with Extra Extra. How odd is it that these two double name galleries sprang up here within several months of each other.