Friday, July 20, 2007

aminals at doubting thomas

Aminals -- As art exhibits go, this one's pretty wild -- or at least undomesticated. Pretension and polish are nowhere to be found in this offbeat, animal-themed collection of works by local artists, organized by Clevelander Shawn Mishak. Depth too is scarce, but at least there's an intellectual path through the zoo: that we humans aren't much different from our beastly neighbors. Josh Banaszak draws the connection most clearly in "Pregnant." Painting crudely on untreated plywood, he depicts a nude, pregnant woman in profile, neck to stomach. Her breasts and belly are swollen to bursting, but the pink circle representing her womb is what grabs your attention. Scrawled over it is the word "mammalian," making the point that gestation and live birth are traits common to countless species. Mandy Szostek illustrates our remove from nature and pays sarcastic homage to our media obsession in "Modern Urban Totemic Animism," a totem pole-like structure formed from televisions. But the real zingers are the charms on the wall: Instead of statuettes, there are a cigarette box, a prescription-pill container, and a Red Bull can -- gods, indeed. Jeff Pasek takes the most poetic tack, seeking animal equivalents for human tendencies. One discovery is "Sleep Cycle," the show's most beautiful painting, in which monarch butterflies, stuck in a treeless, orange-tinted landscape, find rest in dangling from mysterious white lines. They can't sleep without a little external assistance, and neither can most of us. Until August 13 at Doubting Thomas Gallery, 856 Jefferson Avenue, Cleveland, 330-687-3355. -- Zachary Lewis

No comments:

Post a Comment