Monday, December 19, 2016

At Able Baker gallery in Maine, a show on spirituality feels disjointed, but that’s not all bad

By Daniel Kany
Richard Brown Lethem's Horses of Plenty" (2015) oil on canvas
MAINE---"The Pilgrim’s Progress” is Able Baker Contemporary’s quirky but ostensibly unironic foray into spiritual art. It’s a fascinating show with a bizarrely functional aesthetic. If you could call it “beauty,” it would be the type the surrealist Comte de Lautréamont (Isidore-Lucien Ducasse) famously described as “beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella.” The goal of “Pilgrim’s Progress” appears to be a broad view of regional religious and spiritual art. It reaches from mystical modernists like Richard Brown Lethem to street-style, posterized Christian “icons” to Shaker “gift drawings.” But the title even tilts toward a false start. [link]
Shaker "gift drawing," historical reproduction, serigraph on paper, ca. 1970. Photo by Daniel Kany