Art Capsule Reviews

Art and Science The title of this show says it all. These seven pieces by Stanton Fernald — a scientific illustrator with an awesome name — blend the two fields into a delightful whole. The science side is more intriguing because Fernald has built nearly every aspect of his installations. For each, wood-hinged tripods stand on the floor and hang from the wall as regalia from an earlier time. Imagine 1940s sci-fi: projected images of the Pantheon or the inside of the Lowell Observatory as if from some apocryphal world history. Like a technological octopus, the arms of “Pantheon II” curve from the walls, projecting the ceiling of the titular work as the repeating boxes and grid form a gentle, ghostly image. Two tripods cross legs for “Lowell I” and “Lowell II,” the images stacked one on top of the other. And in “Centipede,” the creepy crawly is rendered with surprising grace. In Fernald’s hands, science is more stimulating than we ever imagined it could be. Through Jan. 27 at the Late Show, 1600 Cherry, 816-474-1300. (R.T.B.)

Group Show The kinetic, obsessive and expansive drawings by James Trotter include enough doodles and cartoons masking as social commentary to fill the Dolphin gallery. Trotter is in good company, with David Ford’s skewed take on a white-picket-fence America, Ky Anderson’s childlike paintings, and work by Russell Ferguson and others. But it’s mostly Trotter’s show. The three sections of “Stare Decisis” fill one wall, the oversized prints inviting viewers into the world of his animation madness, where a personal, journal-like quality imbues the work. In all three, cartoon characters from the past wander around on the pages as if lost in a postmodern loop. In sharp contrast, Archie Scott Gobbers’ newly painted “Flashback” features his usual neat arrangement of block letters, summing up the zeitgeist of our time in three neat phrases drifting into the blue background: “Boot up, Sign In, Log Off.” Yes, that’s the cycle of life captured in wonderfully simplistic tech talk. Through Jan. 27 at the Dolphin, 1901 Baltimore, 816-842-5877. (R.T.B.)

Remembering the Future Because of its diversity of media, this exhibition feels like five shows crammed into one. The eclectic arrangement isn’t jarring, though; it’s an inspired selection of 40 fantastic works culled for the most part from the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection. Themes of memory, loss and time string various pieces together in tangential threads, so the mechanical butterflies flapping their wings in soothing, wavelike motions in John Kalymnios’ graceful “Untitled (Butterfly)” logically connect to the suggestive, dreamlike videos in Bruce Yonemoto’s “The Wedding.” And for the concrete reality of death, James Croak’s cast-dirt “Dirt Baby” hangs on the wall like a foreboding omen. Deep and profound, this show creates new memories while examining the nature of old ones. Through Jan. 28 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784. (R.T.B.)

Sound Exchange A little more interesting in theory than in practice, this is still a cool idea. Two artists, Amy Stacey Curtis from Portland, Maine, and Amber Hasselbring of San Francisco, recorded nine sounds indicative of their surroundings. They swapped them in the mail, then drew impressions of what they heard; each contributed nine 11-inch-by-11 inch drawings in charcoal, graphite, watercolor pencil and inkjet. The resulting collaboration, a visual and aural dialogue between East Coast and West Coast, analyzes place and our relationship to it. The interactive quality of the exhibit, in which gallerygoers are asked to play the recorded sounds on headphones while looking at the work, leaves us lost in the waves of “Pacific Ocean.” We’re not complaining. Through Feb. 24 at Grothaus and Pearl Gallery, 2012 Baltimore, 816-471-1015. (R.T.B.)

La Visión de la Virgen All of the art she has inspired is proof enough that the Virgin Mary descended from heaven in 1531 to talk to a Mexican boy. Every year, the Mattie Rhodes Gallery exhibits the divine evidence. Artists send work from all parts of the country (this year, two of the contributors reside in a state prison in Ohio); most of it consists of reverential portraits that blend Aztec, Catholic, Mexican and American imagery. José Faus plunges deepest with his oil and acrylic “La Niña y la Santa Maria,” in which the Mary, wearing traditional, pre-Colombian clothing, looks anxious as a Spanish caravel is rising behind her — many of the Europeans who already believe in the Virgin Mary won’t recognize her face among the natives. An addition to this year’s show is Susan Dodd: Apparitions: Keeping Company with the Niño Queen. Dodd makes assemblages and collages consistent with the gallery’s Marian theme. Apart from “Age of Reason,” which rehashes, for the billionth time, an ironic portrait of a pious Catholic girlhood, Dodd’s work is surprisingly theological. “Kingpin” uses a miniature bowling alley to toy with freedom, fate and guardian angels. In “Annunciation,” a plastic figurine Madonna receives the hallowed message from the angel Gabriel, and the sundry symbols surrounding her are worth exploring. Through Jan. 20 at the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery, 915 W. 17th St., 816-221-2349. (S.R.)

Categories: A&E