Artifice: Betsy Birkner + Pamela Winegard
Betsy Birkner’s beautifully crafted breastplates address the dilemma of a well-behaved woman who, in the eyes of others, is reduced to a set of expectations and stereotypes. The titles include a litany of internalized messages: “I Should Be Beautiful/Have Babies/Be Nice/Be a Good Catholic” and so on. But tucked into this series are some assertive thoughts, such as “I Should Play in the Woods” and “I Should Be Healthy.”
In these ceramic and mixed-media sculptures, Birkner delivers her message with precision, but leaves plenty of welcome room for the viewer to wonder and interpret. Is she shielding herself from an onslaught of criticism? Or is she shielding herself from her own desires?
Complementing Birkner’s works are mixed-media pieces by Pamela Winegard. In several series, she endeavors to expose false nostalgia through paintings of barns and water towers, some in candy colors, that are menaced by trees, machinery and other elements. They seem to depict environments that Birkner’s armored women yearn to escape.
Through March 6, Pease Gallery, Central Piedmont Community College, arts.cpcc.edu/art-gallery, 704-330-6211.
Construct(s): Isaac Payne and Matthew Steele
In this exhibition of building-centric work, Matthew Steele focuses on the built environment and Isaac Payne on the felt environment.
In Payne’s moody paintings on collaged surfaces, mist-shrouded buildings loom over small groups of people on otherwise deserted streets. The buildings dominate visually, but a lot of the mystery resides in the people, anonymous figures engaged in mundane activities.
These large paintings engulf the viewer, transforming him or her into a voyeur.
Steele’s sculptures, inspired by buildings, trusses and bridges, are rigorous and exuberant. They are about the sheer beauty of buildings and the building process, intense celebrations of labor.
Although resembling massive steel infrastructures, they are made mostly of walnut, giving them an unexpected warmth and intimacy.
Through Feb 26, Storrs Gallery, Storrs Hall, UNC Charlotte, http://coaa.uncc.edu, 704-687-0877.
The Sonia and Isaac Luski Gallery will open two exhibitions with a reception, Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. One exhibition features the work of studio glass artist Michael E. Taylor, whose vividly colored geometric work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design, Renwick Gallery, Corning Glass Museum, Mint Museum and numerous other institutions. The other show consists of glass art in various shades of blue by numerous artists.
Through May, Sonia and Isaac Luski Gallery, Foundation for the Carolinas, http://www.fftc.org, 704-973-4500
Rufino Tamayo: Mujeres
The internationally known Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo was both of a place and out of place. He sought to bring respect to his country’s artists, but his own work, which often combined figurative abstraction and traditional Mexican culture, put him at odds with contemporaries such as Diego Riveira, who did explicitly political work.
The lithographs in this exhibition feature women in a variety of incarnations and interpretations. All face the viewer, confident and self-contained. Erotic and sometimes fanciful, they are visually rooted in Oaxaca, the region of Tamayo’s birth.
Through March 7, LaCa Projects, 704-609-8487, www.lacaprojects.com.