Art Beat: Wild things

A quartet of young artists returns to Bockley Gallery; plus, a Scott Seekins-curated drawing show at Gamut Gallery

Lauren Roche's "Kneeling Woman with a Tiger and Two Horses" Credit: Submitted image

KENWOOD — Consider it an encore performance.

This month’s group show at Bockley Gallery features four of the emerging artists who Todd Bockley included in 2013’s stellar “Edge of Camp” exhibition: Lauren Roche, Lindsey Rhyner, Tynan Kerr and Andrew Mazorol, the latter two working both separately and together as AMTK. And now that the band is back together again for “Two Dark Horses,” named for a Roche painting, it’s tempting to ask why they make such sweet music together.

Certainly, the paintings of Kerr and Mazorol resonate with those made by Roche. There are the hints of narrative, the mixing of human figures with abstraction and the almost punk attitude that prizes expressiveness over precision, manifesting in muddied colors and inexact anatomy.

But where does that leave Rhyner, the textile artist, then?

Just like her last appearance at Bockley Gallery, Rhyner is showing wall hangings that collage together various recycled fabrics, both printed and woven. In this next evolution of her work, one hanging hints at figures in a landscape and another — incorporating quilted hot pads, neon green mesh from a high-visibility vest and red fake foliage — is like a ghoulish mask.

It’s aggressive, visually noisy work that doesn’t just hang on the wall and wait for you to come to it. It screams loud enough to be heard across the room.

If anything, AMTK have toned-down a bit for this show.

In the past, they’ve posed their mysterious figures in crowded group scenes, like anthropologists documenting tribal ceremonies. Here, instead, are single figures seated in classical portrait poses — still, however, covered in rhythmic patterns, still with a whiff of the occult about them.

Kerr also shows some of his surprising solo work: stoneware jugs decorated with cobalt drawings. A parade of mythical creatures encircles each, and while his collaborative paintings with Mazorol can come off as vaguely menacing, Kerr’s winged women, headless giants and wooly-tailed satyrs are odd but charming.

Roche’s powerful paintings seem at first to come from a darker place.

In her world, women are wild things striped and spotted like animals, friends to feral cats and untamed horses. Tears and blood, not always distinguishable, drip from human and animal alike. What initially looks like savagery is revealed to be tenderness.

As the story goes, Roche only began showing her work publicly two years ago at the urging of Mazorol and Kerr. After seeing her twice with this group, it’s clear she’s ready to solo.

Two Dark Horses

WHEN: Through April 26

WHERE: Bockley Gallery, 2123 W. 21st St.

INFO: 377-4669, bockleygallery.com

 

Daring drawings, handpicked by Scott Seekins

DOWNTOWN WEST — Does drawing get the respect it deserves these days?

Local art scene bon vivant Scott Seekins might say no, which is why he titled the Gamut Gallery show he organized with gallery director Jade Patrick “The Lost Art.” Seekins said he intended the show as a celebration of the form, and one that emphasized edgy material, to boot.

Not that there’s anything particularly transgressive on display. A jolt or two awaits those of tender sensibilities, maybe in the fantastical colored pencil drawings of Amina Harper, whose trans-furry characters gleefully inhabit bodies that blend male, female, human and animal attributes.

No, Seekins and Patrick care about draftsmanship and not just shock value, or they wouldn’t have included Danielle Edstrom’s wonderfully observed charcoal drawings of male and female monarch butterflies, hung together so that the viewer can examine the minute differences in wing shape and pattern. Laura Bigger is also working in artist-naturalist mode, delivering delicate pen-and-ink drawings of a chaga mushroom clinging to its host, a birch tree, and a sheaf of wild rice.

In terms of technical virtuosity, no single example tops Erin Sayer’s “(Misunderstood) Medusa.” To depict her version of the mythical Gorgon, a petulant beauty wearing flowers among her coils of snakes, Sayer teases extremely subtle gradations from her pencil.

Seekins contributes two of his own colored-pencil drawings, including one from a series inspired by American Indian ledger art. The artist is his own favorite subject (well, maybe second to Britney Spears) and, typically, Seekins inserts his white-suited self into the scene and into a bloody chapter of frontier history.

That’s part of what makes a Seekins drawing without a recognizable self-portrait so remarkable. “Key to the Kingdom” reads like a personal symbology, a riot of non-sequitur imagery that simultaneously references Renaissance engraving and commercial art. If you thought Seekins notable only for his sartorial quirks, then it’s definitely worth a peek.

The Lost Art

WHEN: Through April 24

WHERE: Gamut Gallery, 1006 Marquette Ave. S.

INFO: 701-8272, gamutgallerympls.com