The title Entropvisions is in homage to my mother, the poet and art critic, Harriet Zinnes. In 1990 New Directions published a collection of her poems titled Entropisms, a word she made-up combining entropy - the tendency toward disorder - and tropism - the growth towards or away from a stimulus. Similarly, my short reviews combine entropy and tropism by suggesting growth towards a vision of art from the chaos of the art world.

Friends: Laurie Heller Marcus, Carol Diamond, Lisa Pressman, Naomi Nemtzow, Rita Baragona, Fran, Bruce Gagnier, Karin Bruckner, Carol Saft
2022.12.7

Coincidentally, quite a few of my pre-social media friends – people I’ve known for years if not decades – have concurrent exhibitions in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and so I thought I’d review their shows together.

With just blue, white and black, Laurie Heller Marcus’ seemingly infinite imagination creates childlike inventions of actual adult experiences, journeys from her outer to inner world where people fly out of buildings or sit within cups, and scale seamlessly shifts within other sudden shifts of scale and space, together creating stories within stories of memory and fantasy. (Planthouse Gallery, through Jan. 7). Carol Diamond also transforms the real world into a fantastical one, but in a more physical sense: Carol transforms actual street trash into gems of sculpture, camouflaging their humble material beginnings into pulsating anthropomorphic references of dancers, wounded animals, and mysterious hidden spaces of worlds where anything can happen (Incubator Gallery, 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, through Dec. 18). Lisa Pressman’s interest in materials manifests itself with textured pigmented wax, thread and encaustic intuitively collaged, sewn, and burnt to create evocative abstractions of moving form and air, solid substance and atmospheric voids, constant plays of materials against and with materials and the sheer joy of art-making (Susan Ely Downtown, through Dec. 21). Also collaging are Karin Brucker and Naomi Nemtzow but to totally different effect. In an exhibition aptly titled Cage Your Rage, by enclosing enigmatic images inside wired cages, Karen’s constructions subtly express how we lock up and hide from our individual and collective rage, while it might actually be more beneficial to face this rage and use it for constructive change. For decades Naomi Nemtzow painted brilliantly observational color studies, but during Covid, with forced lockdown, she turned inward, learned to trust her years of painterly experience, and so let her imagination wander without censorship, excitedly discovering comical and serious imagery as it emerged out of the visual play. (Bowery Gallery, through Dec. 30). Also showing at Bowery, is Rita Baragona, whose flower studies glow with perfectly pitched bursts of color and light that can make even the most dower of sad people smile (through Dec. 30). Two very different artists – artists whom I’ve known from completely walks of my life – were exhibiting at Equity Gallery at a show that unfortunately just closed on Dec. 3. Fran O’Neill’s infinitely volumetric swirls of color and brushstrokes create deeper and deeper spaces the longer they are looked at, and Bruce Gagnier’s figurative bronze sculptures in the back patio cringe in their anguish, an anguish made even more palpable by the seemingly claustrophobic armature of actual flowers and garden scaffolding engulfing them. The day I saw the show, rain had shorted out the night lights, and viewing Bruce’s enigmatic sculptures in semi-dark, ominously encased by their surroundings, actually added to their powerful expressions of inner conflict and pain. And finally, though not someone I’ve known for years but still a painter circling within my painting circle, is Carol Saft, whose paintings at Canada Gallery (through Dec. 22) recreate the intimate relationship and quiet daily life lived by her and her wife, showing us simple acts like taking a shower, putting on make-up, or just sleeping. Posted here is the most painterly (and also one of the few images that won’t flag nudity censorship algorithms) of her selection.

Carol Diamond

Laurie Heller Marcus

Lisa Pressman

Fran O'Neill

Bruce Gagnier

Naomi Nemtzov

Rita Baragona

Karin Bruckner

Carol Saft

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Laurie Heller Marcus

Carol Diamond

Carol Diamond

Carol Diamond

Carol Diamond

Carol Diamond

Carol Diamond

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Naomi Nemtzov

Naomi Nemtzov

Naomi Nemtzov

Naomi Nemtzov

Naomi Nemtzov

Naomi Nemtzov

Rita Baragona

Rita Baragona

Rita Baragona

Rita Baragona

Fran O'Neill

Fran O'Neill

Fran O'Neill

Fran O'Neill

Fran O'Neill

Fran O'Neill

Bruce Gagnier

Bruce Gagnier

Bruce Gagnier

Karin Bruckner

Karin Bruckner