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Jordan Faye Contemporary Gallery Grand Opening

By Darcelle Bleau | Posted 10/3/2007

Through Oct. 13

Jordan Faye Contemporary, a new gallery in Clipper Mill, opened Sept. 7. The gallery is actually Jordan Faye Block's work/living space, occupying a loft in the renovated Woodberry building. For this opening show, Block hung work in her gallery and a neighboring loft. She's displaying 68 works from 13 represented artists, including photographs, oils, acrylics, mixed-media pieces, drawings, and sculptures. Some of the large works took up entire walls, others a tiny space next to a shelf or above a sink.

Viewing the art like this--inside someone's life--brought out the intimacy of some pieces and the rather public presence of others. On a narrow wall hung four of Christine Bailey's intimate portraits, each one a 10-inch square in a gilt frame. In "Bustie Teen Audition (an allegory of inspirational distress)," a young woman, facing forward, lifts a green tank top over her head. Her folded arms and the fabric cover her eyes, and her body is caught in a moment of both exhibitionism and shame. "Wet Fetish Party Girl (an allegory of collective unconscious)" shows the back of a brunette in denim cutoffs with her hands on her bottom. Though she wears a yellow top, she still manages to look the most naked of all of the women, as if she has already agreed to undress. Bailey uses background images to enhance and complicate these works. Behind one woman is a farm scene, behind another a ship crashing in the waves.

Beverly Ress creates a different kind of intimacy by placing tiny beings, meticulously drawn in colored pencil, on large pieces of cream-colored paper. "Cicada" reveals only one small insect, on the lower-right section of the page. "Bat/Hummingbird" contains miniature depictions of both creatures. When viewed from a distance, it feels like a mistake has been made, like the bare canvas/image ratio has been reversed. Up close, the logic of the composition reveals itself: the works comment on life's frailty, precision, and beauty.

Three wood sculptures by James Long stand in the center of the loft. "Too" is a smooth maple orb spotted with inlaid walnut; "Atomic" is similar, but stands on a pedestal and is seedlike in shape. These sculptures show how some three-dimensional work is defined by its environment. In this living room, among the furniture, the sculptures became members of the family.

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