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Review: Melissa Oresky/Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park, Painting, Video Add comments

still from "Trail"


Lining the hall of the second level of the Hyde Park Art Center, slices of geometric shapes and paper pieces coated with saturated and muted tones announce the latest exhibition of Melissa Oresky’s work. For almost a decade, Oresky has created mixed-media pieces that explore the body’s interior workings and cognitive processes through scientific and landscape metaphors. This exhibition, titled “Trail,” attempts to guide the viewer through the artist’s dense visual language through new works on paper and the artist’s first work in animation.

The setup of the show, however, does not allow the path toward enlightenment to be an easy one. Larger pieces with assemblages of abstract shapes hang together in the front portion but share no similar point of reference or scheme. “Green Garden” uses muted verdant and brown colors with clear-cut shapes and sections while “Studio Landscape” is a chaotic collage of saturated color and varying sized paper bits. Meanwhile, farther down the hall, the “Double-Jointed Landscapes” and “Lattice” pieces lose focus of the complexity of the artist’s intention with their montage of overly simple color scheme and graph-paper cutout design.

It is only when one reaches the end of the exhibition and peers into a darkened side room that the show solidifies. Oresky’s animation, a Flash-based work, presents her abstract collage objects and landscape in the same painting style and cut-out technique of the paintings. Sound design by Zak Boerger prompts an immersive experience within the artist’s intricate and colorful landscape. Abstract tree branches pass over while molecule-strand-like objects dance across the screen. Oresky’s animation unifies the exhibition, lacing its references to environmental structures and science beautifully. While unfortunately tucked away at the end, the animation is the centerpiece of the show and a clear demonstration of her work’s evolution. (Rachel Sampson)

Through August 19 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell

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