Fine blend

One exhibit, many styles

Annie Svenson’s “Portrait #9,” set behind Tanya Batura’s “Monochroma A” and “Monochroma C” sculptures.
Susanne Forestieri

The Donna Beam Gallery’s Way Out West exhibit—a colorful mix of widely diverse modernist styles—reminds me of the cantina scene in Star Wars with its mix of colorful alien patrons. But unlike that rowdy crowd, these various works seem to be getting along. During the 1950s, many artistic movements arose in opposition to one another, and for decades they were kept segregated in different galleries. But this is the mash-up age, when culture blends together without regard for tidy categorizations.

Michael Reafsnyder’s appropriately titled abstract-expressionist painting “Glissade” practically glides off the canvas in broad, exuberant strokes of primary and secondary colors and black. The effect is ecstatic and spontaneous. Squiggles, loops of graffito and a thickly applied “happy face” add to the impression of childlike insouciance and joy.

The Details

Way Out West
Four stars
Through September 19; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, 895-3893.

Sush Machida Gaikotsu’s large panelled paintings “Sorairo” and “Zepp In”—in which ribbons of Day-Glo colors stream and curl to form waves and clouds—are masterful pop-art versions of classical Japanese landscapes.

Jason Adkins’ minimalist wood construction “Whiffenpoof,” painted inside and out in glorious shades of red, orange and hot pink, igniting the negative spaces as well as the forms, is redolent of a lowly packing crate atop a pallet.

Arne Svenson’s larger-than-life photographic postmodern portraits filled me with dread and unease, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them. His models, painted-clay forensic reconstructions of unidentified individuals, are creepy simulacra—lifelike and lifeless at the same time.

Tanya Batura’s painted ceramic heads are classically beautiful with their smooth surfaces and expertly rendered features.

Many critics now see postmodernism as just another phase of modernism, claiming the division was false. Let’s bask in the diversity.


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