Villa Terrace and Portrait Society
Kat Murrell wakes you up before these shows go-go.
Like the blossoming summer fruits, new crops of art are popping up all over town. But for every opening, a closing; ah, the cycles of nature and art.
Bronze Works of the Floating World: Examples from the Meiji Period of Japan, 1868-1912: This delightful little show at Villa Terrace, 2220 N. Terrace Ave., closes on Sunday, June 17 (extended beyond its original end date of late May). Nearly 50 pieces are up, but this compact exhibit fits in one tiny room, tucked away at the end of a long corridor on the first floor of the Villa. Take your time. Delicate, intricate surprises, particularly in the motifs of nature, abound. Savor such details as the wire whiskers of a catfish swimming on the exterior of a vessel, a playful decoration also functional as handles. One of the most stunning pieces is a large vase with two sea turtles rising ever-so-subtly as their flukes gently break the deep bronze surface.
You can cast your eyes on more metalwork at the permanent Cyril Colnik exhibition Villa Terrace. For more contemporary art, take a look at the newly-opened To Be Come Day, of works on paper by Joey Fauerso and Michael Velliquette. Fauerso uses wallpaper as a base, interjecting drawings and collage that suggest vignettes that have not fully played out. Nature figures strongly; shades of the French landscape painter Claude Lorraine seem to rise from the hazy atmospheres. Velliquette is a strong counterpoint, with relief sculptures and free-standing works of intricately cut paper. Totemic in their shapes, their day-glo colors combine layer upon layer and give a rich topography to the human figure in ways both celebratory and ritualistic.
For still more vibrant brightness, head over to Portrait Society Gallery for A Fop’s Banquet: An exhibition in three acts. It is the last hurrah for a gallery space soon to be remodeled. (Many of the walls that create the warren of tiny rooms go, leaving a larger, more open exhibition space. Owner Debra Brehmer plans to reopen with a bang in the fall. Portrait Society is a pillar of the Marshall Building, a significant art venue at 207 E. Buffalo St, Third Ward.)
Act One: Destruction. Michael Davidson’s whimsical, poetic and funny Rocket Goes on a Mission transforms his room into an otherworldly land. Have a seat and spend some time in the misty air. Our pal Rocket seems to stride along a cedar plank, the vista sent back at him by the mirror beyond. Pause to admire the play of water in the light, transformed into luminously reflective gleams.
Act Two: Ashley Morgan reconfigures a conventional room with quite a few quirks, not the least of which are the sculptural pieces. They’re like excerpts from ordinary home life edited down to discreet forms.
Act Three: Will Pergl and Lynn Tomaszewski represent growth with highly textured sculptures and two-dimensional works. Amorphous shapes and undulating contours are visually unifying, with subtle nuances and suggestions of movement.
The finale and pièce de résistance is The Banquet, a sumptuous feast for the eyes designed and orchestrated by Jack Eigel and Skully Gustafson. Leave the ordinary at the door for a frolicsome space where color is everywhere and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland could be real.
‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’