The power of Paul Nudd’s gelatinous amalgamative paintings and Casey Wasniewski’s twisting knotted soft sculptures is diluted by the soft rock filtering in from a neighboring coffee shop, but with some time a growing unease settled in. Ms. Wasniewski’s gnarly yarn sculptures are built with French knots and augmented with animal hair. The addition of the hair makes the forms appear mammalian. This vibrant strangeness suffers from their conventional “art-like” presentation on plinths. One piece that escapes is “Sinewy Cerulean,” a blue-gray worm-like form that stretches upward while eerily balancing on one end. Nudd’s work is strange in a different way from Wasniewski’s. The paintings present themselves initially as affronting, amateurish and cheap. The paint is unevenly applied and Nudd’s version of pentimenti is patches painted the color of fresh canvas. Hot glue holds on felt and black seed-like forms, hair clumps in lacquer and collaged drawings. But with time these works reveal themselves as highly organized paintings. The attractive repulsion of the paintings is helped by the inclusion of faces hiding in the darkness. But it’s difficult to look at Nudd’s gross-out videos or the sludgy paint of an artist like Andre Butzer and not want more from these works. (Dan Gunn)
Through July 20 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell.