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Review: Another Show and A State of Natural Abstraction

An inspired group show at Boyd | Satellite and Shawn Hall's techno-baroque paintings at Cole Pratt

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The title could have said it all. Gallery group expos can showcase several artists at once, but most become just "another show," and they stand out as much as people in an elevator. But sometimes things click like a lively visual conversation as each piece brings out the best in the others. In Another Show at Boyd | Satellite, David Eddington's surreal Constructivist painting features some oversized, disembodied bones towering like obelisks in a hazy landscape that unexpectedly resonates with Pinkney Herbert's abstract Lines canvas (pictured), where darkly cryptic markings on a sandy expanse suggest an ancient Mesopotamian experiment in modernism. Likewise, a vibrant graffiti-esque wall mural by Wendo complements some meticulous Blake Boyd paintings that weave graffiti and pop themes into eloquent monuments to urban ephemera. Mass production, zombie robotics and industrial madness set the tone in works by Deborah Pelias, Trey Speegle and, especially, Iva Gueorguieva, whose complex abstraction, Machine Vision, functions as a postscript to her big, two-person show with Regina Scully down the street at Octavia Art Gallery. In art as in life, context not only is important, it is what gives meaning to just about everything.

  Shawn Hall's A State of Natural Abstraction expo lives up to its name in this latest iteration of her ongoing techno-baroque exploration of the elemental world around us. Bigger and bolder than much of her past work, paintings such as Pink Head in the Cumulus — a crimson, mauve and azure phantasm of clouds and sunspots swirling in a pastel sky — suggest whimsical natural forces at work in the cosmos. But Coy Nematode returns us to ground zero with an elegant take on those tiny worms that seem to be biding their time, awaiting the day when they inherit the earth after we render it unsuitable for human habitation. In Hall's view, Mother Nature — and her elegant sense of humor — inevitably win in the end.

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