Seductive Summer at Portrait Society
Three solo shows at Third Ward gallery
Johnson’s work is the opening salvo, but slip like a breeze through a pierced, blue plastic curtain into “The Juice,” a room installation by Skully Gustafson. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, a small stage and the walls of the room are universally decorated with vibrant color and pattern. In this postmodern wonderland, painted rabbits appear on the floor and biomorphic ornaments hang from the ceiling. Gustafson emerges like a contemporary mythological Pan, recreating the freedom of the artist’s studio as an arena for play. Gustafson also sees it as a form of archaeology, revealing the layers of creative imagination. While remaining light, the density of images reflects the multilayered character of his art and persona as an artist.
Erik Moore, Gustafson’s partner and collaborator, shares in the creation of complex layers of identity in an alternately theatrical, darker mode. The final gallery in the exhibition is lined with “Half Human,” a series of stunning black-and-white photographs where solo creatures of animal masks and nude bodies emerge from shadows. The light in his compositions is intense and dramatic, and with succinct eloquence, Moore takes us to a place where the ethereal psyche and physical body meet.
“Summer Art Orgy” arcs from Johnson’s bold superstars to the enveloping world of Gustafson and finally draws us into the gripping haunt of Moore. Before summer is out, indulge your senses in one of the best shows this season. “Summer Art Orgy” continues through Sept. 13 at Portrait Society Gallery in the Marshall Building, 207 E. Buffalo St., fifth floor.