“Narratives #6” is a collection that continues my ongoing winter theme of dark days, with this grouping’s subtext being “Drama”! Melinda Barnes introduces this grouping in a quiet way with her graphite drawing titled “Nightclub”. We sit and contemplate an empty steel stool with a dark vinyl cushion seat, anticipating some stand-up comedian, folk guitarist or maybe a ventriloquist to enter the scene, framed by medium toned curtains neatly tied back against a second white curtain backdrop. The moment is frozen, the emptiness completed and populated by the viewer’s own personal line-up of characters. Niklas Nenzen’s “Planter’s Punches” supplies us with two tableaux in one setting, depicting a foreground drama and a background activity. They might be doppelgangers, as each is a set of men, with one pair suggesting strife in the foreground, and the other cooperation in the background. The pair in front, bare chested, bare footed and bare fisted are clearly not dressed for the cold, overcast scene populated by leafless trees. Renewal seems to lurk on the horizon as the second pair plants a tree amidst vernal pools in front of a darkened cabin. My next artist, Alice Sfintesco, renders a pale nude female figure whose top half is a scramble of fuzzy, multi-colored lines shaped like a lumpy brain or skein of yarn. Within this tangle would normally be her arms, chest and head, suggesting a degree of vulnerability and exposure and creating a dramatic tension between upper and lower. Our view becomes suspect as we bounce up and down, unable to linger long on either half and conscious of the confrontational nature of the figure’s stance, which seems to challenge our instinct to objectify. Don Doe’s “Abandoned to a Cemetery Vision” is a luminous scene of ghosts and figures that spell out some strange event or drama that is unfolding before our eyes. A crouching, slouching figure has opened some can of Pandora that sits on a stump-like support releasing a fluorescent ether swirl populated by an uneasy cast of demons. The main figure is dressed in leather boots and ascot. He seems to represent an historical character and is acting unsure and possibly regretful. We assume he has been tempted in some way and now experiencing the repercussions that bear down on him in a menacing and lively cacophony. The drama next reaches a fevered pitch with Kenny Cole’s gouache drawing “Huffin ‘N Puffin”. A hysterical sweaty horse whose fore leg and head is caught and framed within the square format of the scene appears to have been spooked and is on the rampage. Smoke billows from his nostrils, eyes and mouth, and it has barred its teeth as some kind of instinctive response to the chaos that surrounds. At the very edge of the picture plane on the right a nude “pole fitness” figure provides an asymmetric decorative border design that has been bisected vertically down the candy cane pole’s axis. Mountainous stacks of green bundles of cash are piled high in the near distance silently within the smoke and brimstone and broken or snapped flagpoles that surround them. It is as if a dysfunctional society bred on patriotism, capitalism and sexual exploitation had suddenly, instinctually and regretfully become revealed to humanity’s earliest form of advanced domestication, the horse.
Kenny Cole