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Review: Everything is Connected and I'll Save You Tomorrow

D. Eric Bookhardt looks at new paintings and sculpture by Jeffrey Pitt and Juan Logan

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The title of Jeffrey Pitt's show, Everything is Connected, is based on ancient wisdom, but science didn't get the message until modern physics came of age a century ago. Here Pitt's related holistic sensibilities appear in colorful canvases deploying abstract patterns to suggest the formal similarities between nature's biggest and tiniest structures. For instance, Metamorphosis in Violet (pictured) is a rhythmic arrangement of gnarly forms that initially suggests a cross section of petrified wood, but look again and it could be an infrared satellite photo of Crimea's coastline. Get closer and the details evoke tribal tattoos or Keith Haring's stylized, grafittilike figures. In Fertility Dance, similar figurative forms appear in an interlocking puzzle pattern like an electric green and black compositional rumba. This is typical of Pitt's traditional style, but he also branches out in trippy new directions, as in Bacteria, and not the good kind, in which deeply hued cellular pathogens look improbably appealing, even recalling the celestial aura of some of Van Gogh's starry sky paintings. It's all fairly head-spinning, but the connections just keep on coming.

  At the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Juan Logan's stylized abstract landscape paintings are fraught with the weight of history yet, perhaps paradoxically, therein lies their allure. In the North Carolina-based artist's Chowan Beach canvas, the vibrantly hued landscape is seductive but its sharply defined edges evoke the Jim Crow era of segregated beaches amid natural bounty. In his locally inspired Lincoln Beach, the slithery Mississippi seems to snake dance in counterpoint to the big, blue ovoid lake, and here too the contrasts are sharply defined. Such tensions are highlighted in Some Clouds Are Darker, where glittery black droplets fall from a blood-red sky onto a patchwork landscape. For Logan, abstraction is not only not detached, it's a bluntly beautiful instrument for his pithy ruminations on our evolution as a nation.

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