Art Capsule Reviews

Michael Eastman: Landscapes Michael Eastman’s large-format color photographs of mountains, roads and fields are like velvet; they seem to absorb light rather than reflect it. Above the land, multihued clouds loom and evoke different moods — sometimes menace, with bruise colors indicating a brewing storm; other times serenity, as when sunlight outlines black clouds over a pasture where cows are grazing. Eastman acts as a conduit between the landscapes and the viewer, opening a window on a world we recognize but don’t often visit. Through Dec. 23 at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004 Baltimore, 816-221-2626. (A.E.F.)

It’s All Your Fault Walking into this group exhibition, ostensibly about “the mood of the country” after 9/11, is like entering a mental quagmire in a country with foreign aesthetics and an obscure language. Too many mental states separate viewer and artist in Ke-Sook Lee’s “Garden Flower” installation, which consists of rice paper cutouts hanging from the ceiling like white spiders. Lynus Young seems to be screaming all over the place in his installation “We’re All Going Somewhere,” with its unfulfilling assortment of sculpted objects, including a plush liver, a question mark, mushrooms, flowers and amorphous bright blobs. We despair of finding any hint of reality until we notice that one of Mary Wessel’s untitled paintings vaguely resembles a mushroom cloud. Through Jan. 6 at the Paragraph Gallery, 23 E. 12th Street, 816-221-5115. (S.R.)

Lisa Sanditz: Flyover Missourian and painter Lisa Sanditz lives in New York but hasn’t forgotten where she came from. Her canvases portray the territory that her hip East Coast friends probably dismiss as flyover country. Closest to home is “Subtropolis,” an imaginative depiction of the world’s largest underground business complex, located in Kansas City. Her acrylics also cover Dollywood (“Dolly Parton’s Peaks”), Siegfried and Roy’s Mirage Hotel (“Pussy Den”) and “Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.” Sanditz colors as wildly as Matisse and doesn’t aim at representation; rather, she intensifies the essence of a place with abstraction and brightness. Through Jan. 7 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784. (S.R.)

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 prison); 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 Ni’a 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