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.

Kyle Staver at Half Gallery

Kyle Staver is a visual storyteller and expert choreographer, with a seemingly infinite imagination. An exhibition of her work is always exciting, but her current show at Half Gallery, up through Feb. 7, has an added pleasure, as the gallery’s secondary exhibition space, an annex just down the block, gives us a glimpse into Kyle’s working process. Though the relatively loose paint handling of her large paintings suggests a certain freedom, these paintings actually grow out of a long preparatory process. Beginning with fast pencil sketches to find basic ideas, she then moves to wash drawings for the overall distribution of lights and darks, clay reliefs to give a sense of physical reality to the still-forming image, and watercolors for understanding how color might come into play. Finally, as the wonderful second exhibition in Half Gallery’s annex space demonstrates, she works out the ultimate construction in small oil sketches on board, where forms seem to spontaneously emerge from the gestural movements of her brush. I recommend first spending time in the gallery’s main space, where her large paintings live. Delve into their fairy-tale worlds of Prince Charming, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Feel their charm, but also see how our own contemporary life of real relationships, so different from the Victorian-cleansed fables we grew up with, lurks just below the happy surface. Enjoy these paintings for their dramatic lighting, surprising color combinations, subtle repetitions of repeating motifs, condensed spaces, unusual scale shifts and imaginative compositions. Experience Kyle’s clear joy at the making of these paintings. Then head down to the annex, where you’ll find the large paintings in miniature, in the oil sketches of fast brushstrokes and organic movement, where elements seem to be born from the movement of paint, and most of the details, albeit less distinctly defined, found in the large paintings have already been conceived.