April Review: "Nightmares and Fantasies"

Nightmares & Fantasies 
Figureworks Gallery
168 North 6th Street
On View Through May 6th

A bed-ridden hospital patient shields his face from an onslaught of technicolor hallucinations. These bio-morphic emanations, like giant sea anemones and amoebae, hover forebodingly above their source and curl tendril-like beneath his bed. Entitled “Tincture of Metaphin” (by Frederic Taubes) this image announces Figureworks (168 N. 6th St.) new show “Nightmares & Fantasies”, evincing the intensity of images therein. 

Intimate, evocative, and deeply psychological, the show is revelatory in a way that only our dreams and fantasies can be. Standouts include an inkless intaglio pair of prints from legendary artist George Tooker. Here sand colored paper, solely through the use of embossed line, becomes a desert expanse of dunes wherein sleeping figures descend or emerge menacingly. Also fantastical are a pair of large etchings by Artem Mirolevich, depicting meticulously rendered streetscapes that are besieged from above by flying schools of fish, flaming text, and floating pirate ships. 

Additional nocturnal archetypes emerge including human/animal hybrids; best of these being a bronze-skinned, bird-headed harpy (“Metamorphosis” by Jean-Pierre Alaux) who skates atop a roiling turquoise sea of hook-toothed beasts, grimacing gargoyles and other various grotesqueries. The carnal, libidinous aspects of fantasy are also well represented here by various languid or priapic figures, most enigmatic being an ink drawing, by Sante Grazian, of a knock-kneed woman who holds/becomes a bouquet of fleshy orifices and undulating, petal forms. 

Like dreams, this show holds too many memorable images to enumerate; much of them ecstatic, otherworldly, and surreally familiar. (through April 22nd) 

—Enrico Gomez