Visual Arts » Art Review

Works by Elizabeth Fox and the Bourghog Guild

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When painter Elizabeth Fox lived in New Orleans years ago, she worked in an office and observed corporate social behavior with the eye of anthropologist. She saw how products are marketed and how sleekly attractive employees become social commodities. Her edges were softened by the city's innate baroque funk, but when she landed in Maine after Hurricane Katrina, her figures inexplicably assumed a kind of California cool, as if Barbie and Ken had become corporate publicists in Hollywood. This is expressed in 4:30 Friday (pictured) a visionary mannerist painting of three male success objects exiting an elevator into a reception room occupied by two efficiently sleek female executive secretary sex objects. Coexisting with all the memos and flow charts are the manicured primal urges and pertly nuanced gestures that comprise the workaday rituals of our time. In Revolving Door, similar figures pass by as if in a trance, but Liz in the Wind, a profile portrait of a young woman, epitomizes the flawlessness of a 21st century Venus — the masterpiece of a veritable Botticelli of plastic surgery, as eternal as the tepid sea lapping the listless shore in the background.

  All of this stands in stark contrast to the revelations presented in the Bourghog Guild's artifacts from a lost civilization at the 1022 Gallery. Rendered in a post-punk Dadaist style of mixed-media installations, these untitled works present evidence of a parallel universe that is imploding even as our own familiar world of increasingly robotic global markets becomes an ever more virtual reality made up of inexorably more connected electronic gadgets. But somewhere beneath America's anonymous suburban malls the ancient demons are stirring, and this Bourghog presentation is intended as a warning (and a visual extrapolation of the classic R&B aphorism) that time is on their side after all. — D. Eric Bookhardt

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