After three decades producing contemplative oil paintings and sumi-e ink studies, Terri Zupanc’s latest source of meditation is the land around his family’s cottage on Paint Lake in Upper Peninsula Michigan. The artist’s first exhibition at Jean Albano Gallery, “Paint Lake” contains wood bark and occasional animal shells categorized as “found objects” alongside misty, black-and-white photographs of nudes frolicking through the forest. Zupanc found and chose the curving and twisting bark to place in the gallery as biological readymades, and these sculptures indeed draw the viewer to reflect on the wood’s beauty and natural patterning. A large installation in the gallery’s outside window echoes the affichiste collages of Jacques Villeglé, which can be viewed concurrently down the street at the MCA. Whereas Villeglé harvested the visual imagery of the urban street, Zupanc picks and edits the serene northern landscape. Aesthetic detail and pattern in the wood works emerge- they would hardly be noticed in their natural landscape but take on a manufactured quality in the context of a gallery.
Harshly disrupting the meditative lull of Zupanc’s work are the glitter and jewels glued to selected bark pieces. The artist intended to portray mystical shimmer of mermaids and water, seeking a connection between the photographs and objects; however, the bedazzled bark comes across as kitsch in an exhibition that otherwise seduces with a Siren call to run freely among Zupanc’s northern Lake Michigan landscape. (Anastasia Karpova Tinari)
Through June 29 at Jean Albano Gallery, 215 West Superior