A look at life, with tongue in cheek Art review: At School 33, a show of art -- and artists -- that seem to be going somewhere.

April 02, 1997|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

Peter Ivanoff's trio of sculptures are at once the wittiest and the most telling works in "Three Views," the current exhibit at School 33. They rescue a show whose other two artists are less successful.

All of Ivanoff's works are about going someplace, whether around in circles or on programmed paths or down the long road of life. "The Road" amounts to an installation of about 30 "boats" with bottle-shaped bodies fitted with sails. They're spread out along the floor of the gallery in a V-formation that's four boats wide at the back and led by one tiny boat up front.

It's a piece that has a lot of connotations. It amusingly takes off on the boat-in-a-bottle cliche by changing it to bottle-as-part-of-a-boat. It reminds you of birds flying in formation and, of course, of flotillas of small ships. And that brings to mind the fleet of small ships that rescued the trapped British troops from Dunkirk in World War II.

And war, of course, brings to mind life and death, what this piece is really all about: how the road looks endless and the options infinite at the beginning, but how it all seems to narrow as you come closer to the end. It's not really a gloomy piece, though, despite the message. All those little boats are jaunty, sprightly.

"Green Wheel" consists of a crutch running through the center of a wheel made to resemble a cage. On this treadmill of existence we think we're going someplace, but actually

And "In the Year of Our Ford" shows us two anvils traveling down two metal tracks. This piece might be about conformity, or it might be about finding a way to get through things (as in fording a stream), or it might be about conformity as a way of getting through things.

James Agard's wall-hung sculptures made of metal strips induce optical illusions. They are made in openwork shapes such as boxes or arches or zigzags, and if you squint at them in a certain way, they look as if they're reversing themselves -- what's in back looks as if it's in front and vice versa. We've all had the experience. These are reminiscent of op (as in optical) art of the 1960s, a short-lived and little-mourned movement which tended too much, like these, toward gimmickry.

Randy Rosenberg's paintings relate both to the environment at large and in a way to the environment of one's life -- the conditions and influences that affect us. The trouble with these works is that they try to encompass too much and are often vague and less than fully formed. Rosenberg's a good painter, as the composition and the colors of her "Ghost Farm" demonstrate. And she seems to be heading someplace. It will be interesting to see her work down the road a little.

Upstairs, in the smaller Gallery II, "Response-Ability" is the title of a show of Colette Veasey-Cullors' works using photography and digital imaging to explore issues of African-American identity. Here again the work promises more than it yet achieves, for these images often combined with words can be pretty obvious. But there's enough here to make one hope for more.

"Three Views" and "Response-Ability"

Where: School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, through April 25

Call: 410-396-4641

Pub Date: 4/02/97

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