Arts & Theater

Art review: ‘Dissent’ and ‘Art X Architects’ at Sacramento’s Sparrow Gallery

“Silence” by Daggi Wallace comments on the objectification of attractive young women.
“Silence” by Daggi Wallace comments on the objectification of attractive young women. Daggi Wallace

After moving to more spacious quarters at ArtHouse on R, Sparrow Gallery now has a large first level space that currently accommodates three shows.

“Dissent” is a show of women artists who address matters of social and political concern; “Art X Architects” gives us a look at artworks by members of the American Institute of Architects.

Lisa Reinertson’s magnificent life-size bronze sculpture of a woman tenderly holding a frail penguin rescued, perhaps, from an oil slick, ushers you into “Dissent.” Addressing ecological threats to the environment, Reinertson’s noble, nurturing woman is classical in execution and moves us to consider the role of the Environmental Protection Agency under the new administration.

It’s followed by Sandy Whetstone’s satirical woodcut, “Trump’s Cabinet,” with Betsy DeVos in a dunce cap and Vice President Mike Pence accompanied by a Band-Aid. She also gives us a work based on a biblical passage. “Eye of the Needle” is a linocut of Trump on a camel in the desert contemplating a needle with a huge eye while shedding dollar bills.

Squeak Carnwath’s “Pants on Fire” series of small paintings range from an abstract grid of pale colors to a shadowy image of Trump’s profile recognizable by his bouffant comb-over. The word “liar,” written across the painting, is an expression of anger that might be more effective on a larger scale.

Nadine Robbins gives us photographs of participants in women’s marches across the United States. The strong black and white prints, accompanied by quotes from the marchers, are compelling, especially one that captures the toughness, determination, and palpable pain on the face of a feminist, activist, transgendered woman.

“Water is Life, Standing Rock, 2016,” a large and passionate painting of a Native American woman wrapped in an American flag by Laurie Stevens, presents a bold contrast to Carol Carter’s “I Am invisible,” a pale, tentative watercolor portrait of a woman holding on to her head. It is flanked by “Museum of Pre-existing Conditions,” Kathrine Lemke Waste’s oil of a nude Greek goddess looking into an adjoining gallery hung with a humorous painting of Trump and his Cabinet.

“Silence,” Daggi Wallace’s small, photographically precise, charcoal and pastel drawing of a flawless woman’s face bound by criss-crossed ties, comments on the objectification of attractive young women.

The show is accompanied by an interactive piece in the form of a large blackboard on which viewers have written their reactions to the show in brightly colored chalks.

“Art X Architects” gives us a look at ceramics, watercolors, color photographs and mixed media works done by nine AIA architects.

Jeffrey Grau’s earthy yet elegant ceramic plates with geometric patterns call up associations with classical Greek pottery in “Plate 1” and classical modernism in “Plate 2.” They are accompanied by a pair of small clay figures, also modernist in spirit, that call up associations with Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti.

Christopher Holt’s well-executed watercolors of scenic buildings in Woodland reflect his interest in urban architecture of an earlier time. They remind us that lovely and historically important structures such as the Woodland Library and the Woodland Hotel should be preserved and treasured.

Peter McBride pays tribute to new urban architecture with his delicate, precise watercolor of Sacramento’s Warehouse Artist Lofts on the R Street Corridor, which provides safe and affordable live-work space to the city’s artists. He also offers a dynamic small painting of the ocean at Big Sur that makes you feel the power of water and the splendor of a big sky.

Emily Potts moves into more contemporary territory with her feminist wall piece made of woven paper and fabric grid, “Searching for a Gender Neutral Baby Blanket,” as does Maria Ogrydziak with a pair of archival pigment prints on aluminum and plexiglass of richly textured, boldly colored walls.

It should be noted that Robert Jean Ray, who curates a monthly microART exhibit of matchbook-size artworks, gives us a grid-like installation of petite paintings and collages in a variety of media in a corner of the front gallery. Some of these tiny works can pack a powerful punch, especially those of Ray, which are influenced by modernists such as Picasso, Rouault and Klee, as well as street art-inspired, Basquiat-like contemporary art.

‘Dissent’ and ‘Art X Architects’

Where: Sparrow Gallery at ARTHOUSE on R, 1021 R St., first floor.

When: “Dissent” is up through Sept. 1 with a First Friday closing reception from 6-9 p.m. “Art X Architects” is up through Sept. 29 with a closing reception Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. MicroART is up through Sept. 1. Gallery Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Cost: Free

Moe info.: 916-382-4894, www.SparrowGallery.com

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