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Hallwalls Members' Show Offers a Bit of Everything

Weiser's self portrait
Something for Everyone
Hallwalls members’ show offers a bit of everything

Some marvelous artworks in the current Hallwalls members’ show. None more so than Milton Weiser’s oil on canvas self-portrait in a basically realist mode with nuance of German Expressionism, a modernist manner reflecting an artistic heritage going back to Albrecht Dürer at least. Some sense of Dürer in this painting. Some flavor of his self-portrait from 1498 in the facial expression seeming to convey emotions and attitudes ranging from mild surprise to alarm at the ever more egregious manifestations of man’s inhumanity to man, to a fierce refusal to be dismayed or intimidated by any of it. It’s a superb work.

Other excellent work by several artists from Autism Services, Inc., for some reason identified by just their first name and last initial. Such as Dan C.’s enigmatic minimalist drawing and painting—a little in the Tom Toles graphic style—called Rick Azar Will Punch You in the Stomach. Another pugilistics theme piece, by Bill E., showing two slightly dazed-looking not particularly athletic types—one a little flabby in the midsection—shirtless but with boxing gloves, about to duke it out apparently in the candidate debates. (Republicans they look like.) Textual notations here and there about the work announce variously “The Thrilla in Vanilla” and “This time it’s Presidential.” The headline above the main image block says “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Founding Fathers Press.” Several other notable works from the Autism Services artists. One by Jim B. consists of the single word “Boogers” in purple caps on a basically dark green background. (As James Joyce described the “snot-green sea.”)

Among other fine works, Bruce Philip Bitmead’s whole-palette-in-every-stroke painterly expressionistic Winged Sphinx, the full-spectrum color blend evocative of feather iridescence. Michael Hanna’s multi-portrait of several youthful clerics-in-progress, in black cassocks and Roman collars in a Renaissance Italian architectural setting, entitled The Vatican School. Eileen Pleasure’s End of the World, in acrylics with collage elements that look like child’s art houses and trees tumbling this way and that amid a nondescript bluish to blue-greenish background. Dorothy Fitzgerald’s oil, latex, and colored pencils on board work called Unconscious, in dominant black and surrealistic array of seemingly unrelated and not securely identifiable representation items: something like a gallows, something like a fish, something like a Calder mobile of hinged planar segments.

Also, Nina Puccio’s Medical Illustration, hovering between what looks like an actual anatomy book illustration and student notebook entries, including the illustration—drawing was once a requited element of all or most science studies curricula—and some handwritten commentary or lecture notes. Mark Lavatelli’s encaustic and collage illustration—I think—of brain electrical circuitry. Dark nodes with linear connective pathways among them. The piece is called Switch. And David Mitchell’s all-white work on paper. The words “Some Ghosts” embossed in (white) black letter font. The piece is called You (and Everyone Who Came Before You).

An artist called The Vandalizer has a very funny sex-education chart in drawings and text. Information derived from various sources. School health class, but also, as one of the text notes explains, “I also learned a few things from MTV’s ‘Spring Break.’” Esther Neisen and Tom Holt have a drawing of two clear glass bottles, one with a tiny cat asleep in the bottom, one with a large mouse or rat struggling to get out. And Frank O’Connor a sculptural work consisting of what look like long thin sticks of colored sidewalk chalk, stacked in a corner, called 13 Drought Sticks, Type 2.

Charles Clough has 24 Studies for Clufffalo: Hamburg, small trial versions for a big-finger painting he made—together with the communal project volunteer participants—for the Hamburg branch library, and now installed there.

There are more than 170 works by a like number of artists in this show—something for every taste and predilection, you would think—with two apparent show titles. Text you encounter on the first wall as you enter. Neither one an actual show title, however. Actually, two more artworks. One by Eric Magnuson, reading “Edited for Content.” The other by Virocode in the sort of floating morphing typeface employed in website tests to verify that the user is a real person not a robot. This one says “tell me about your mother.”

The members’ show continues through August 28.

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