Two New Shows in the Powerhouse Arts District Look to the Sky

Two New Shows in the Powerhouse Arts District Look to the Sky

A block west from 150 Bay Street, stargazers have another option. In “Proud Scenes of Dusty Hills and Family Homesteads,” which will hang at Art House Productions (345 Marin Blvd.) until March 31, Greg Brickey simulates a bright night sky with hundreds of fragmentary paintings, some cut in tiny triangular or quadrilateral shapes, some long and dagger-like, stuck on the Gallery’s wide street-facing wall. This is a bigger and bolder constellation than the one Brickey assembled at IMUR (67 Greene St.) in late 2023, but if you saw that excellent show, you already know the overwhelming effect of standing in front of the artist’s storm of pike-sharp shards.

There are other obsessive pieces in “Proud Scenes,” including a wallful of drawings of one hundred and forty ink-smeared faces, arranged in a grid of surprised and impassive expressions, streaks of black stain, star-stamps, flowers, geometric rings. But the heart of the show is the installation of painting chips — a work that looks as if a larger painting has shattered like windshield glass. Motifs leap across the fragments: saw-toothed triangles, wings, steps, hypodermic needles, bell-like blooms. Brickey’s stars often look like the insignia on the fuselage of a military aircraft. They’re often shooting, heading down diagonally across the shards, trailing stardust and frozen in mid-plummet.

This is, in other words, no peaceful night sky. Brickey’s starry expanse is busy and agitated: it’s a sight of wonder, but also a place of danger. These aren’t stars to wish on — they might be the sort of stars you’d see if you hit your head, or if astigmatism compromised your vision. The Brickey heavens are spectacular, but they’re also unattainable, estranged from the viewer by distance and attitude. Looking up, it turns out, is both more complicated and more difficult than it seems like it’d be.

(The Art House Productions gallery is open on the weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Lobby at 150 Bay Street, which is located on the corner of First and Provost, is open during the weekends, too.)

Click here for the full JC Times article by Tris McCall