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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brentwood Arts Exchange Presents: Sherill Anne Gross "Pretty Little Things" June 7 through July 17, 2010

Outside the Diamond  | ART OPENINGS |

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 19.  5:00-8:00pm 

This exhibition features cut-paper drawings of Pinups and other works by Sherill Anne Gross.  Admire them for their aesthetic links to Tom Wesselmann and David Hockney; love them for their roller skates and scooters.

Even her signatures are cut out of paper. She knows how many pieces it took to make the rug behind the figure (6,375).  She's too much fun to hang out with to talk about "depictions of femininity in mid-twentieth century America ."  Yet, among the scooter, the brauhaus girl, and the one who might just need another minute to finish tying her roller skates, there it is.  They can catch you off guard with their vivid color and bold, solid forms.  You could just love them for their warm embrace of a high-energy subculture and a bygone era.  Most people do.  But, once they've hooked you they stare back, faceless, as much a symbol of beauty as they are beautiful.  That's  before you even have a chance to level with the "disorderly" versions - images turned inside out, quite literally - cut paper Pin-Ups made from the scraps of other Pin-Ups, figures formed out of negative space  that leave viewers to decide what is positive and what isn't. 

And there's the allure of Pretty Little Things.  The show is accessible, attractive, and colorful.  It is clear-eyed nostalgia for the culture of 20th century America 's golden age as well as a firm embrace of a contemporary subculture.  This is not art and these are not people that would hide "meaning" under the surface.  It won't tell you what to make of it, either.  But, for viewers who want questions, there's no missing them.  Ideal figures, distanced by time yet very present, are revealed fresh with an objective eye and irresistible aesthetic, laying bare an insight that will travel with you as far as you'd like to take it.

Editor's note: while the show's opening is not until next weekend, pieces are going very quickly.  There are about 100 or so smaller cut-outs that are framed for only $75 a piece.  They are already moving fast.  Go see this show before everything sells out.

The Brentwood Arts Exchange at the Gateway Arts Center is located at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue Brentwood, MD 20722.  Call the center at 301-277-2863/ tty. 301-446-6802.  Hours are Monday through Friday: 10am - 8pm and Saturday: 10am - 6pm

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