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.

Vincent Donato at 81 Leonard
I love discovering a new talent. And so it happened when I saw the Vincent Donato show now hanging at 81 Leonard, through April 6. What is immediately apparent is Donato’s raw authenticity, a reaching into the depth of human experience, of sorrow and joy, life and death, a kind of ritualistic embrace of existence. Apparently, Donato is self-taught, but he has not learned about art in a vacuum, as growing up on Staten Island, he became a graffiti artist, and also explored the canon of western art. With models like Francis Bacon, Alexandra Canabel (a 19th century French academic history painter), and Giacometti, his artistic influences are wide – and even include the rose bush growing on his grandparents’ property. This bush, or at least the rose, has become a central motif in his art, appearing in almost every piece on display, both as symbol and personal memory. His grandmother would keep dead roses from funerals as remembrances of the deceased, as if the continuing existence of the flower allowed the deceased to still breathe. And outside his grandfather’s studio was a rose bush, blooming with flowers of love and life, but thorny, leafless, and in so many ways, apparently dead and threatening. Perhaps because his grandmother devotion to the rose, it was of this bush that Donato made his first drawings, thus discovering the spell of art. In his current work, the rose continues the duality his grandmother displayed, as vertically the rose can suggest life, but horizontally, death and mourning. Donato’s paintings, sculpture and drawings, made with oil paint, beeswax, wire, marble dust and found windows and doors, ask existential questions about being and non-being, the physical and metaphysical, dreams and reality, the artwork as object and embodiment of intangible emotion. Some pieces are purely abstract, and others suggest faces or portraits of spirit beings drifting in a nameless world, but all appear as talismans, artifacts from a psychic space, existing here, but of another time. Given the depth of expression in this work, it is remarkable to learn that Donato, born in 1995, is quite young. He is certainly someone to watch.