3 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now

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Through Aug. 30. Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, second floor, Manhattan; 646-896-1368, bridgetdonahue.nyc.

The nine works anchoring Lisa Alvarado’s solo show, “Thalweg,” at Bridget Donahue aren’t definitively one thing or another. They’re paintings: brightly colored and abstract, with geometric patterns or expressionistic swaths. They’re also tapestries suspended from the ceiling, with fabric backing and trim.

Notably, each one is titled “Thalweg (Traditional Object),” after a geological term that has multiple meanings, too, including a line that traces the lowest part of a valley or channel. Visually, they evoke natural elements like water and earth while referring to a number of traditions, among them Mexican textiles and European and American Modernist painting. But they borrow from and build on those sources to become something of their own.

Hybridity and in-betweenness are central to Ms. Alvarado’s practice. In addition to being a visual artist, she plays harmonium for the Natural Information Society, a group founded by her husband, Joshua Abrams, that fuses styles to make experimental, meditative music. Her hanging works take on yet another identity as set pieces for their performances.

At Bridget Donahue, the band supplies a droning, transportive audio piece that features the sound of running water — a motif that appears visually in four collages of Ms. Alvarado’s family photos, showing people of Mexican descent in Texas in the 1930s. Around that time, the U.S. government forcibly deported over a million people, many of them American citizens — including members of the artist’s family — to Mexico, in an act that’s euphemistically called “repatriation.”

A series of Wang Xu’s short poems on the website underscores our collective, odd and surreal year. One reads, “In an empty station / Anxious people are looking for their return train / Afraid to miss them / At such a moment / We indeed live in a spectacle / Our body is our own monument.” This could apply to Wang Xu’s sculptures and scenes in the video, but also to the current pandemic, in which fear and confinement are accompanied by opportunities for reflection and poetic reverie.

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Sahred From Source link Arts