Art Galleries

Muse

When: Thu., Dec. 5, 12-5 p.m. and Mondays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Feb. 7 2020

When the evolutionary theory of art collapsed in the 1960s or ’70s, artists were freed to explore ideas (even those from the past) without the crushing burden of mandatory innovation. Natalie Bertotti and Michael Garlington are collaborators who combine sculpture, photography, and performance to explore a personal fantasy realm reminiscent of nineteenth-century Symbolist painting. (Their monumental Paper Arch, with its antiquarian echoes, is in the Burning Man show now at the Oakland Museum.) Muse exhibits the team’s signature black and white photographs, which are enlarged and elaborately framed, or printed in smaller sizes and mounted loosely among the installations, scrapbook-style, creating enigmatic theatrical environments suggesting shrines. The muse is Bertotti, who appears, nude or costumed (Venus, Serpent on the Green, Woman in Suitcase). She is accompanied by the actor Willem Dafoe (Willem and the Mermaid); Garlington, albeit decapitated (Head of Mike Garlington) or disembodied (Coat of Arms); and co-conspirators (Allie with Mask).

DeWitt Cheng

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