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. Through the back door, my title also pays homage to my physicist father, Irving Zinnes, whose long discussions with my mom got her thinking about entropy and tropism in the first place.
Francesca Schwartz at Michael David Residency
What a treat to be allowed entry into the Francesca Schwartz studio of alchemy, a studio first transformed from the Michael David Gallery space many NYC artists know so well and into a residency studio, and then doubly transformed into an otherworldly place, where Macbeths’ witches stir their brew, and ghosts from a personal past come back to haunt and expurgate their dreams, fears, journeys, and sins. Francesca joined the world of creative artist only within this last decade, having been (and continuing to be) a psychotherapist, and it is partly her ability to reach the unconscious that is manifest so strongly in her work. From extreme responses to her mother’s relatively sudden death, her very real confrontations with her own mortality, to her sensitivities towards the world beyond, these often-large-scale pieces demand our attention, demand we go to our inner depths as we look outside at hers. Schwartz constantly asks those unanswerable questions: What is life? What is existence? What is feeling? What is pain? What does it mean to be? The newest work, made with huge sheets of burlap originally used to wrap trees for protection against storms, retains this history of saving nature’s metaphoric life-force – the “tree of life” – as it is also transformed into huge mythical dresses of Francesca’s mother’s past, suggestions of a child’s hope squelched by life’s traumas, or witches flying to freedom from their evil ways. In other work, generally made from tulle, wax, dry dye, acrylic, encaustic and other mystery substances, one piece that began as a confrontation with open-heart surgery becomes a head with its neocortex evaporating upward and away; and in another, an almost invisible figure sinks deeper and deeper as she evaporates into the quicksand of white earth and air encasing her, trying to understand if her existence is real. Some of Francesca’s work is on view at Lichtundfire until Jan. 28, and though I have not yet seen the show, I look forward to discovering what new magic awaits there.