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Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Gallery East Plays "Three Card Monte"

Art Review

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Producing and exhibiting art is an economic gamble. What will the viewer appreciate and connect with intellectually or emotionally? Perhaps enough to lay a credit card across the counter and purchase a given artwork? Green Gallery East presents a trio of Chicago artists in the exhibition "Three Card Monte," which by chance touches on these elusive issues.

The casino game three card monte asks players to find the money card within a three face down card set. In the exhibition, Maritne Syms, Marco Kane Braunschweiler and Paul Cowan bring to the conceptual table ideas about playing games through cinema, music and visual art while interacting with each other, the gallery and the mounted work. Syms and Braunschweiler usually collaborate at Chicago's Golden Age Gallery where Cowan also exhibits. Their diverse aesthetic styles mingle freely on the floors and walls in Milwaukee's contemporary exhibition.

Braunschweiler produces a limited edition of three austere, yellow pine benches, raw and unfinished, in Untitiled (Bench for Green Gallery) at a pricey $750 per piece. Cowan's most engaging oil painting hangs behind the reception desk featuring an oversized musical note on a bold, multi colored staff also named Untitled. Do these pieces allude to the visual dimensions in music, silent when placed on canvas or a printed sheet and observed with abstraction from afar, distinctively alive when heard and played by others?

Martine offers a psychological glimpse at cinema in her series Belief Strategy I-IV. Her archival digital prints highlight purple text against a matte black background to recall dialogue from the 1985 Academy Award winning film The Color Purple. Martine's one print from Belief Stra­tegy reads, "See Daddy, sinners have souls too." The quote might reflect addictions, gambling and deadly vices or the misconceived nature to avant-garde artists voiced by outsiders looking in. At first glance the text appears oversimplified, although repeated viewings stimulate culturally textured and multi-layered meanings.

While only several pieces in this sparse exhibition prove to be winners, even considering the sophisticated suppositions explored by the provocative trio through the work, one thing is for certain: Creating art is a high stakes gamble, yet provides an eternally worthy bet for placing money on. The exhibit is open through April 17.­
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