Since its recent move to the new space at 535 South Street, the Aktion Gallery has shown an intense drive to live up to its tagline: “We aim to put the cult back in culture.” Not even two months away from its grand re-opening in June, the gallery has transformed the space, showcasing two exhibitions and opening up its homey second floor to workshops covering everything from cyberpunk-inspired life drawing classes to pinup photo-shoots. Now, the gallery is on the search for a new space once again, adding an unexpected element of poignancy to the closing of its current exhibition, Process, this Sunday, August 21.
Visting the Process show feels rather like traveling through strange universes of Kubrickian proportions. Amidst a smattering of animal bones and monstrous figures, the numerous artists in the show juggle with medium and culture so skillfully it might leave you dizzy.
Two InLiquid members feature in the show. The blurred figures in the works by Nancy Halbert blend into their lush worlds of deep reds, thick brush strokes, and textual collages as easily as the furtive characters in a Gothic novel. Chris Macan’s pinhole photography offers a sense of intrusion into haunted ground. The quaint buildings of “Stone Inn” and “Horse Barns” appear to shy away into the background of their lonely, eerily lovely worlds.
A smattering of digital prints by David Aronson disturb and delight with their black and white explorations of fantastical figures and household objects. In “Sorcerers,” two characters that could have stepped from the pages of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King wield magic with the aid of a scrub brush and a plunger.
Not too far away, Jody McGrath keeps in touch with his Northern Ireland origins with works like “Ulster Loyalism Seventies Style,” from which a figure stares out from behind its barrier of acrylic paint and charcoal, vaguely reminiscent of a bandaged Claude Rains in The Invisible Man (1933).
Lily Lisa dredges up the symbols of childhood fairy tales. In “Briar Rose,” she presents a mixed-media window into Sleeping Beauty‘s nightmares. The work twists in an agony of thorns, while a spindle tainted in blood provides the focal point.
Fortunately, the wild dream presented in Process almost seems to be a neverending one. The darkly flowing fabrics of Heartless Revival breathe life into the shadows of Aktion Gallery’s corner spaces, while the nightmares of Anias crawl across the walls (particularly in the appropriately titled “Dream Catcher, Night Terror”). Thérèse Lavery’s acrylic works leap like sunbursts, as the eyes in Brendan Coleman’s photographs stare with unexpected intensity from behind dark veils. Other works by Katie Lulu, Niki Bombshell, Jordan Miller, Dan Mahlman, Traci Godri, Corina Dragan, James Smull, Jim Ulrich, Jeremy Waltman, Ellen Owen, Alisandra Wederich, Daniel Molnar, Angela McQuillan, and John Santerineross leave countless worlds to explore, and less than a week left in which to do it.