LAMP Fine Art Gallery
Through Dec. 30 'Camera's Eye' by Gina Soo Golden, on exhibit at LAMP.
To shimmer is to shine, but it's also to glimmer, as in to put off a faint or tremulous light. LAMP Fine Art Gallery's current offering, Shimmer, is of the latter variety: The group show of work by 11 artists lets off sporadic light and intermittent darkness. As in most LAMP (Local Artists Making Progress) shows I've seen in this co-op format, it's an eye-of-the-beholder experience; that is, the beauty is personal.
Easton Miller's "Consumption" appears to be a series of brain scans immortalized by enamel on copper. It's lovely from a visual standpoint, eerie on another level. Loveliness may not be pleasant, nor is it necessarily intended to be when it comes to art of the edgier variety.
That may be what's most striking about this show: The loveliness that does exist here is of the grittier variety. Wendy Mathiesen's textiles come to mind. Figurative abstractions in fabric are never easy to pull off, but Mathiesen is able to make her pieces work without being too cryptic. "Fantasy of Fear" might be about a woman's relationship with fertility - a complicated one, in this case - or then again it might not. A snaking piece of fabric wends its way around to an egg form on a pedestal. In Mathiesen's "Eaten Alive," the same drama is unmistakable: several eggs on pedestals are being consumed by snaking fabric. Even if my reading is off - at least in terms of the artist's intentions - Mathiesen's fiber canvases are rich with contemplative possibilities.
Steven Keller ("Skoalar") offers crisp-lined, stylized images of women, as if to suggest a kinder and gentler version of cubism inspired by the female form rather than the machine. Keller's lines are well-defined but curvaceous, and yet I puzzled over his methods. Did he delineate the sections before applying paint, or did he paint the sections before drawing boundaries between them? With titles such as "Pandora" and "Thank you for the Mammaries," I couldn't help but wonder if these were about trying to get a grip on women - so to speak. Never mind "kinder and gentler."
Other artists such as Jerome Chambers are easier to interpret, but with a different sort of glimmer factor: Chambers' paintings and drawings depict somewhat troubled figures. In "Bread," a child looks hungrily from within the canvas, clutching a piece of bread. Is he homeless, poor? In either or both cases, the image disturbs. As a viewer, I felt both compassion and discomfort. Such is the nature of a shimmer: Is the light on or off? Is the glass half full or half empty?
Shimmer also includes previously-viewed sculptures by Kipp Normand (exhibited recently at the Harrison Gallery) as well as works by Jonathan McClure, Elizabeth Guipe Hall, D. Delreverda Jennings, Daniel Evans and Gina Soo Golden.
See Shimmer at LAMP Fine Art Gallery, 901 N. East St., through Dec. 30. Call 624-9803 or visit www.lampfineart.com. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m.