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Just in Time for the Oscars: Koelsch Gallery's "lights, camera, action"

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Just in time for the Oscars, the Koelsch Gallery's current exhibition, "lights, camera, action," captures the varied nuances that comprise America's beloved La La Land. The collection of work features several noted local artists such as Claire Cusack, Matt Duffin, Cisco Tucker Kolkmeier and Vanessa Estrada, as well many others that Koelsch has recruited from across the country. As the show's name indicates, the collection of work, while varied in medium, technique and style, all falls under the umbrella of "Hollywood."

Upon entering the gallery, you are presented with a whimsical piece by Ann Huey entitled Classics, and that is exactly what it is. An assortment of small replications of classic movie posters and images is arranged on a large backing. For a movie lover, this piece would make for a good one over the mantel.

Dominating the far corner of the gallery is Sandy Sussman's Toto, an oversize, acrylic painting of Judy Garland as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She is bodiless. The memorable face we all know and love floats in the heavens, held up by a pair of large white wings. Look closer, and she is a bird flying in the sky, but she doesn't look like she's relishing her freedom.

Mixed-media artist W. Tucker has taken familiar images, some from retro film or advertising, and taken their seriousness down a notch with childlike scribbles and markings. A classic Hollywood image of a couple swooning is ruined by a merciless ball-point pen. Chalk drawings of boats intrude on a "romantic movie moment." The markings are subtle but impactful nonetheless. Does Hollywood take itself too seriously?

Hanging in the corner of the gallery are a miniature-size suit and dress created by Connecticut artist Donna Rosenthal. Both the suit and the dress are made of 1950s comics and pages from romance novels, highlighting one of the many gender stereotypes of our time.

With a few of the pieces, it was difficult to make out the Hollywood theme. As a collection, though, "lights, camera, action" is as enjoyable as sitting down in a dark movie theater with a big bucket of popcorn.

"lights, camera, action" is at the Koelsch Gallery, 703 Yale, through March 3. For more information, visit koelschgallery.com.

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