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.

Nora Riggs at Tappeto Volante Projects
It is fascinating that, despite their voluptuous curves, colorful patterning and tight formal construction, the vibrant paintings of Nora Riggs, now hanging at Tappeto Volante Projects through April 21, seem to be about the discord, alienation and emptiness underlying our contemporary life, and also a bit of nostalgia for a less complicated time. No one looks at anyone, not even lovers, musicians or friends, and motion seems to have stopped, as the carefully-designed painted shapes lock people in suspended snapshots that reduce gestural interaction and emotional connection. Dancers seem almost to be sitting rather than gesticulating wildly, guitarists are frozen in a pictorial tableau, and lovers embrace but are awkwardly immobile. Riggs, who is clearly well-versed in the history of art – not surprisingly she once worked as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum -- references specific artists and their compositions throughout her work, and often uses Cubist tropes like frontal eyes on profile faces, limbs bent in impossible ways, the flattening of space, and sharp diagonals. These strategies help organize the design, but interestingly, and more subtly, also suggest the disconnection of our routine lives, as limbs attach awkwardly to bodies, and sharp beams of light cut across figures, slicing their wholeness into broken fragments. Color and pattern, too, partake in this sense of discomfort, as dissonant colors, though ingeniously made harmonious, also create a nervous angst and acid moods. Confrontationally, we sometimes see only the backs of heads, sometimes heads and figures are chopped off the picture entirely, and even still life objects are randomly scattered on tabletops with little dialogue between them. Is Nora Riggs an intentional social commentator, or simply keen observer of her world, an artist who manipulates visual language for conceptual connotation, or an artist who simply loves constructing form? I don’t know. Perhaps all the above.