Haze Gallery, 6635 N Baltimore #211, closing party with the artists Saturday August 28, 8 pm
My friend makes me brilliant mix tapes. The thematic and aesthetic unity of their construction maps their respective chronologies. They segue from Neus' "Negativland" to Eno's "Music for Airports" and I can hear Bowie's "Sound and Vision" before it starts. Mix tapes--like group art exhibits--have to choose between a grand singular vision and an eclectic safety that covers all the bases.
Haze Gallery's latest drawing exhibition, Scratch, chooses the latter route. Billed as "six different takes on what it means to draw," the diversity of subject matter and techniques assures that no viewer will walk away completely satisfied or let down. If Scratch was a mix tape, it would meander from the Wu Tang Clan to Bob Dylan--not bad, but maybe not what you want in your walkman when you miss the bus.
Joe Biel's graphite drawings are the psychedelic rocker of the show; strange, accessible, wonderful. In "Song," a pudgy man stands on a pile of dirt and garbage, raising a fork and spoon to the sky while sporting only tighty-whities, a tank top and a couple of peg legs. While Biel's figures inhabit a surreal foreign reality, Jen Kruch's work is based in a very real world, one of the past. Her pencil drawings recall impromptu family photos--parents smile out from under early '80s haircuts as the children on their laps stare out of the kitschy golden frames, confused and sleepy. Accompanied by some yarn on cloth and cross-stitch work, Kruch's contributions are the warm classic rock ballad you still guiltily loveÉ the one your dad listened to while you played Candyland with your sister.
Corey Lunn's illustrations of Vikings and his Sharpie pen and bleach on fabric work is the Black Sabbath song you didn't expect, and James Boulton's "Detainment Strategies"--which is not as layered and complex as much of his other work--is a somewhat disappointing song by a band you really like. As always, there are some tracks you might wish to fast forward. Visit the closing weekend of the show with a friend, so you can have quiet whispering spats about which songs (uh, I mean drawings) are worth your time.