Speaking of art: Friday afternoon, as the day Tut-Tutted and Looked Like Rain, I made it down to the La Mama Galleria for “In the Midst of the Firing Range,” the latest showing by my painter friend Wayne Kral. Wayne is a surrealist, both on and off canvas, and the show was a good one. His garden, a Miró-meets-Dalí thicket just a few years ago, is now sprouting into lusher, deeper, Max Ernst-y bushes, and it was great to see his canvasses stretched brightly around the long room in a narrow band of magic-lantern panes.
Wayne has reached the point where his painting is starting to self-reflect, with some old work coming back in new forms and some central ideas dropping into the background where they make complex and playful texture. A couple of years ago he was painting strange On Beyond Zebra hieroglyphic alphabet pieces in soothing or jazzy colors (a few of these are on his web site, where they’ve been deftly protected against blog-raiders like me). Now the “scat” of those pieces – his term, taken from the musical styling and not the gross sexual perversion – is present in new forms, submerging or decorating or masking some of the newer work. His old kite-like Day-of-the-Dead fish inform new animal shapes and a couple of whimsical skeletons. His color palette is maturing, and he’s confident saying more with less.
My favorites were a matched quad of four tiny “trimester” paintings, numbered first through fourth, each depicting a common twisty curvy pointy abstract form in a different color scheme with different backgrounds. Per the artist, they’re a musing measure of sexual frustration during pregnancy, starting in sandy carnal red and black and getting downright explosive by the end. By the fourth trimester, the urges are positively scientific.