By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
Holt's best piece in the show is one that, like Friedland's work, evokes the organic by way of mechanical means. Rolling Bridge is a monumental piece, perhaps 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, that incorporates Holt's usual conglomeration of copper wire and colored glass (in this case, blue) into a stretch of steel chainlink fence, all suspended within a six-legged wooden frame. The overall effect is distinctly surreal, as if the artist had displayed the skeleton of a gigantic fish by hanging it inside a bridge.
The one artist whose work doesn't quite fit in with the rest of "Amalgam" is Allan Maxwell, whose 15 large manipulated photographs occupy the medium-size gallery just off the museum's foyer. Maxwell typically stages a composition, often using dolls (including Barbie) as well as human figures, then projects an existing photographic image onto the staged arrangement, which he then photographs again. A positive transparency of the image is generated, and the artist etches additional images onto its surface before making a final photographic print.
The process sounds complicated, and indeed the resulting imagery is sometimes so hopelessly cluttered that it's difficult to tell what Maxwell wants these photographs to do. The whimsicality of the doll-based pictures, in particular, seems a bit forced, although he achieves a pleasing balance between photographic and illustrational elements in two similar pieces: Water Series #7 and Water Series #5.
Maxwell's work would make more sense as part of a photography exhibition, especially one emphasizing photographs that have been tinkered with in one way or another. Here, however, among the art of Shipp, Friedland, and Holt, it just seems out of place. Other than that, "Amalgam" is a sparse but appealingly prickly show.