Review in Boston Herald for "Close to You"

Familiarity breeds content in shows by friends, family

Visual Arts/by Mary Sherman

Sunday, October 10, 1999

Artists have a reputation for being ruthless egomaniacs. But ``What Jack Built'' at
the New Art Center and ``Close to You'' at the Gallery @ Green Street prove that
stereotype wrong. In both shows, the artists pay homage to artist-friends,
competitors and mentors.

At the Gallery @ Green Street, artist Sheila Pepe doubles as a curator, and she
asked two other artists to select one artist each to show with them. The three
ended up choosing their partners, lovers or spouses. Fritz Buehner chose Diane
Puntar; Robin Dash picked Carrie Moyer ; and Pepe chose Georgia Metz. None of
the selections seem gratuitous. The artists all hold their own.

The show's installation allows the works to play off one another, creating a jaunty
visual banter made up of disparate parts. The curvaceous circles inhabiting Dash's
paintings take on suggestions of '60s pop culture, given their close proximity to
Moyer's disconnected images of hippie culture splattered with ink splots and
colorful splashes.

Sheila Pepe, " green projection field", 1999

Likewise, Pepe's maniacal crochet webbing that hangs from the ceiling shifts from
an ominous encroachment of space to something more upbeat, looking like a
whacked-out macrame plant hanging. In Pepe's version, the green of the typical
spider plant is switched to the yarn's color, and a roll of toilet paper humorously
replaces the usual flowerpot.

At the same time, next to Puntar's provocative pushing of minimalist art's reductive
structures in ``Wishing Well,'' made out of Formica and flock, Metz's constructions
in cardboard look amazingly formal.

Fritz Buehner's "Colonial", 1999

(carved purple heart, birch and spun aluminum)

The standout of the show, however, is Buehner's ``Colonial.'' Taking a wooden log,
Buehner expertly whittles it in half, leaving a tiny house standing in the relatively
vast expanse of flattened wood, which is placed over a drain-like setup below,
suggesting an imminent funneling into oblivion.

The general impression of the show is slightly offbeat and irreverent, but it's the
kind of irreverence that grows out of a certain respect for craft and earlier art


``Close to You,'' at the Gallery @ Green Street, Jamaica Plain, through Oct. 16. ``What
Jack Built'' and ``Bryce Wiener: New Works'' at the New Art Center, Newton.

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