Of the three artists showing in "A Brave New World," a new show at Peel Gallery, Magid Salmi is certainly the main draw. He followed up a well-received show at Spacetaker, featuring his "Frankenfood" photographs, towin Art League's juried exhibition
, "Gambol," earlier this month, catching the eye of none other than curator and juror Mary McCleary.
On a visit to the Peel show this week, one man even came in and headed straight to Salmi's work, enthusiastically asking, "This is the guy who won at Art League?" So, should you believe the hype? McCleary may be on to something.
Here, Salmi treads similar territory as with the works that won him a cool grand at Art League, building on his "GMO Quarantine" series, but there's a feast. He's created a rainbow of his neat, small fruits (cherries, raspberries, grapes), which have been prodded with computer circuits and then, if that already didn't make them inedible, cast into resin. The fruits are arranged in three-by-three petri-dish grids, and with the repetition of those grids, varying by color and fruit, you could easily dismiss it as more of the same, but each piece is still so transfixing -- you can't take your eyes off this stuff.
It's certainly creepy, with nods to the rampant practice of genetically modified engineering, but thanks to the small scale, the works still somehow also come off as rather adorable and digestible. Magid is one mad, crafty scientist.
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Works by the other two artists in this compact, thoughtful show at Peel, curated by artist Jennifer Ash, after the jump.
Artist Richard Lund is also mad in a sense -- he uses mathematically inspired patterns to create complex yet neat arrangements of screws and plastic caps. Even if you don't know about the math part, you can sense some sort of exact, obsessive attention to detail going on in his rows of varying primary reds, blues and yellows, like a pixelated Mondrian painting. They lend themselves to some interesting 3-D effects, but other than that, the works don't elicit much emotion to really hold me.
Timothy Ripley makes exquisite oil paintings of weird, cellular-like organisms. First he crafts them from polymer clay, then photographs them, and finally paints them to create multimedia pieces, all in one. The results are as intricate and detailed as Lund's sculptural works, but as strange and captivating as anything Salmi can dream up.
"A Brave New World" runs through January 7 at Peel Gallery, 4411 Montrose. For information, call 713-520-8122.