Leonard Koscianski’s solo exhibition is far more nuanced and impenetrable than it claims to be. In his artist statement, Koscianski fashions his line of attack on postmodern art and society. The series of paintings is described as a comment on the dark side of suburban American life, where wild animals exude primitive bloodlust against rows of identical houses and claustrophobia-inducing forests as a representation of postmodern man’s frustrations and fears. However, identifying the paintings as transparent critiques of the predatory nature of the postmodern world is hardly as evocative as the actual painted content. The artist’s overly complex criticism denies several other artistic systems that he seems either to be citing or unconsciously invoking. The overwhelmingly resonant colors, vibrant as early Technicolor and equally off-putting, evoke pornography, and in fact, the snarling dogs and sinister claws of eagles against washes of teal and magenta seem just as sexual in presentation as they are threatening; is the fear of the suburbs not a fear of violation and rape that might thrill as much as it frightens? Simultaneously, the contrast of such intensity against sinister black figures of trees and the dull sides of houses evokes Gothic stained-glass cathedral windows. Seeing the paintings in this light, as a new kind of religious imagery, reveals an altogether more provocative iconography. (Monica Westin)
Through March 14 at Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 N. Wells.