5 stars

Harrison Center for the Arts; through

March 25.

I wrote last week about how some of

Emma Overman's characters are able to convey complex emotions ("The

All-Ages Art of Emma Overman," March 2-9). It would be a mistake, however,

to try to try to tease out adult complexities from much of her new painting

because it's so focused on the things that she loved as a child.

Take, for example, her "Barnum's Animal

Crackers." Painted with acrylic on wood cutouts in the shape of the

Barnum bunch (Barnum's Zebra, Barnum's Hippo, etc.), these works are distinctly

Overmanesque — wide-eyed, oddly shaped, and in the case of Peanut Girl,

oval-headed, but they are neither complex nor adult.

One thing to note here and elsewhere is

the way that she uses all of her media—not just the paint. She utilizes

the surfaces she paints on as well as her frames, which are often bought in

antique stores, to achieve the (often nostalgic) effects that she wants to


And the effect of this show as a whole,

which gives you her take on childhood totems ranging from Sleeping Beauty to

Mr. Bubble, is to give you a kaleidoscopic glimpse inside the childhood closet

of an exceptionally gifted illustrator/painter who may just be on the brink of

major success.


Dan Grossman is NUVO's arts editor.

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