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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Art Through the Hole in the Wall

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If you peer through the hole in a wall dividing several rooms at the Portrait Society Gallery (PSG), you'll see an over-the-top installation by Jack Eigel and Skully Gustafson: "Fop's Banquet: An Exhibition in Three Acts." (Up through July 29.) Five years have passed since Debra Brehmer established her fifth-floor beachhead in the Marshall Building, and her intelligently reliable shows usually attract legions of fans. This one is no exception, but when it closes, PSG will shut down.

Take heart. The results of all the bashing, hammering and re-figuring will be unveiled in September. "Banquet" is a taste of things to come, and the "three acts" theme (Destruction, Re-Configuration and Growth) is a tasty teaser at 207 E. Buffalo St.

To that end, artist Michael Davidson hath destroyed. His bashing produced a Rube Goldberg-style Rocket Goes on a Mission, gurgling and burbling behind a black curtain, earthbound but raring to go. My thoughts focus on the late Ray Bradbury, whose fabulous science-fiction tales turned eyes heavenward. Ashley Morgan reconfigures what has been bashed, then arranges the drywall bits in a wall-mounted circle where they bloom like alien botanicals. Her choice of the circular form suggests the circle of life, but begs the question about what would happen if Homo sapiens were destroyed? Who or what would re-assemble the remains?

It's appropriate that Brehmer's original one-room gallery is the area detailing "growth." The space is shared by Will Pergl and Lynn Tomaszewski, and the art spills over into the adjacent hallway, as if creativity itself is not about to be confined. Pergl's oozy organic blobs of wood painted with rubberized paint (then studded with wart-like bumps) are simply great. Mass rests on the floor, a plop of black, neither friendly nor ominous. Drop, tear-shaped wood painted blue (water as the giver of life?), occupies a nearby wall. Were Tomaszewski less of an artist, she'd be overpowered by Pergl, but no, her beautifully detailed work has inner and outer strength. The two worked in tandem to develop the growth concept.

If only our politicians would do the same.