“Narratives #8” is a collection that brightens up my ongoing winter themes with this grouping’s subtext being “Red White and Blue” Mee Kyung Shim’s “Pentagon Tears” appears to be an image made visible after wiping away a frosted windshield. The view within then is an overlay of multiple effects, symbols and surfaces. A white silhouette of a traditional Asian coy fish as seen from above floats in front of a half torn grisaille representation of a possibly western Byzantine tapestry or illumination of knights wearing chain mail, with a collection of trompe l’oeil water drops or tears in a slightly pentagonal arrangement on the surface of it all. The limited color scheme of blue, gray and white creates a cool palette with undertones of symbolic or even national colors. In fact this piece was created only months after 911 and was intended as a subtle memorial to that day. Melinda Barnes’ untitled graphite drawing on paper and panel represents the white of my “Red White and Blue” subtext for this grouping of works. The scale, simplicity and soft rendering of her subject matter adds a tender quality to an otherwise unremarkable cinder block wall. We might even think that we are simply looking through an empty frame hung on a block wall, but for the intimate scale, which is the key to appreciating Barnes’ oeuvre. Each of her drawings is a thought or suggestion crafted into a form that can fit in the palm of your hand. Kenny Cole presents all three patriotic colors as the full spectrum of his limited palette. A tired and hard working nude pole fitness dancer glows in a powdery red haze as she muscles out a one armed “floater”. Her only admirer is a monocled penguin, whose cigarette smoke and glowing apparel shares the hue of the dancer’s haze, suggesting a bond of dubious nature. Meanwhile a tornado touches down in the distance and blue drips fall from the sky like sympathetic gestures from God or nature, whose color scheme sets a sharp contrast. Alice Sfintesco’s "Delores Dream #1" also contains the full array of this grouping’s three colors. Each instance, in this case, could represent a plausible logic; fingernails are often painted red, eye shadow is typically blue and skin has historically been powdered white. Yet we do not feel that this figure is plausible, nor do we see any patriotic symbolism, even for the red, white and blue of the French flag, for Alice is from France. Instead we are confronted by Sfintesco’s signature defiant female stance, whose anatomy has been tweaked in some odd way, just enough to elicit discomfort. The eyes are oversized and integral to a pancake-like form that covers the figure’s top half and we are left questioning our gaze and our expectations. Don Doe’s "Engine Trouble" utilizes a reddish grisaille to add warmth to a saucy display of two women acting out a campy porn scene. Their gestures are overt and styled and the brushwork gives us just enough detail in just the right places to allow our gaze to linger and assist the all out orgasm flowing from the foremost figure. The bulbous gas tank of the motorcycle, the sun-kissed flesh of the hapless maidens and the watery, scratchy hatch lines of the overall rendering create a throbbing rhythm of light and dark within the composition.
Kenny Cole