Currently showing at Yes! Gallery, a beautiful basement space curated by Lesley Doukhowetzky on India Street, is a collection of drawings and watercolors by artist Lorene Taurerewa called Watercolors and Other Things.... My impressions of this show can be neatly separated between her technique and her subjects. I immediately found a deep respect for her mastery of the human figure and of the subtle variations within a set of colors that watercolor paints allow. On the other hand, I felt alternately disengaged and deeply troubled by her choices of subject matter. Her techniques elegantly evoke the human form while simultaneously imbuing it with an ethereal quality that lends her subjects license to appear in dreamlike (perhaps nightmarish) positions, and her ability to subtly use color transitions only available to the watercolor medium to set mood is evident throughout the exhibition. It may only be my own personal biases against monkeys and clowns – especially in combination – that lead me to find many of her paintings deeply unsettling. The juxtaposition of a practiced technique against an overtly childish motif – Batman appears in several of her works, for example – may work for some but may disengage others.
Further north at 390 McGuinness Boulevard lies The Greenpoint Gallery. Residing in a multi-level space shared with a mixed showing of sculpture and painting, Friday’s opening was of paintings by artist Walker Fee. Mr. Fee’s work included large-scale paintings that span multiple wooden panels with various scenes covering both idyllic cityscapes and emotionally-charged excerpts from the religious mind. Judgement, a painting on six thin wooden panels and pictured at right, brought illustrations of Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Doré and William Blake to mind. Outlines of sinners, all the more powerful by their being more suggested in the imagination rather than painted in whole, are driven before a livid golden backdrop. While the effect was powerful, I believe that the work presented suffered from being poorly hung and presented – it appeared to have been painted on plywood and mounted so as to not support the middle of each panel, which therefore slouched against the wall.