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Candle in the Window

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"I listen to the radio a lot, especially the oldies stations," Lory Lockwood says, explaining how Marilyn Monroe and the pop culture of the 1950s influenced her most recent work. What that really refers to is the American Dream that materialized half a century ago with Marilyn, Elvis and Harley Davidsons, as well as Hollywood movies and muscle cars — the vehicles that inspired many of Lockwood's canvases over the past decade. The glossy, pop-realist paintings in this show depict shop windows where flashily dressed mannequins extend the Marilyn-era "girly girl" fantasy into the present while reflecting odd bits of the real world on the streets outside.

  The resulting images are kaleidoscopic, as the alluring American myth of eternal youth and glamour contrasts with plastic artificiality and the gritty reality of daily life. Trading the glossy chrome of high-octane cars and motorcycles for the flash and dazzle of Marilyn's legacy as it appears in shop windows about town leaves one constant in place: Lockwood's flair for shiny reflective surfaces. It is a fascination she reduced to a realm of almost pure abstraction in her most recent car canvases, but in this show, it becomes more expansive and lighthearted. The reflective proclivity is seen in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (pictured), an oil painting of a display window where posters of Marilyn peer through a glass display case with little statuettes and beauty products. In other works, French Quarter or Magazine Street scenes are reflected in shop windows containing Marilyn memorabilia displayed like pop reliquaries of saintly remains. The perspective is dreamlike, which is only appropriate for a pop-saint, an American icon of eternal youth and flashy extravagance.

Marilyn and the Dreamgirls: New Work by Lory Lockwood

Through June

Soren Christensen Gallery, 400 Julia St., 569-9501; www.sorenchristensen.com

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