Art Capsule Reviews

Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale A cryptid is a creature like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster — that is, lost, rumored or thought to be extinct. Cryptozoology is a science — or pseudoscience, depending on whom you ask — that studies such creatures. A real-life cryptozoologist named Loren Coleman joins 17 artists from around the world in a tribute to the human imagination and the seductive attraction of the unknown. Among the animals not to be missed in this surreal zoo: Rachel Berwick’s 4-million-year-old Coelacanth and her extinct Australian thylacine, Walman Corrêa’s Ondina mermaid and Mark Swanson’s Yeti. The exhibit takes a turn for the tragic with Rosamund Purcell’s images of conjoined and disfigured human twins. And the section devoted to Coleman’s work goes beyond art: He claims to believe that a lot of these cryptids — including the Chupacabra of X-Files fame — really exist. Through Dec. 20 at the H&R Block Artspace, 16 E. 43rd St., 816-472-4852. (S.R.)

Michael Eastman: Landscapes Michael Eastman’s landscape photographs are so exquisite, they look surreal. His 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.)

Homecoming The Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art and Village Shalom¹s Epsten Gallery have teamed up to exhibit the work of 10 artists who used to call Kansas City home but now make their living — and their art — elsewhere. They¹ve returned from many different cities, and although they all share a preference for abstraction over realism, their sources of inspiration are varied. Andrzej Zielinski paints bright and bowed ATMs. Eric Sall steals imagery from skateboard culture. Sandy Winters makes innovative use of aluminum foil in a triptych of paintings. Rashawn Griffin¹s “Sculptures and Landscapes” collages have a brooding, introspective quality; one canvas whispers, “We¹re dying. Can you help?” Through Jan. 28 at the Village Shalom Epsten Gallery (5500 W. 123rd St. in Overland Park, 913-266-8413) and JCCC Gallery of Art (12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park, 913-469-8500, ext. 3972). (S.R.)

It’s All Your Fault This group exhibition, ostensibly about “the mood of the country” after 9/11, is advertised not as Bush-bashing but rather as a place to ask questions: “How has the country changed? What have we become? How do we get out of the mess we are in?” Unfortunately, walking into this show 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. Could someone address — or at least rephrase — the promised questions? Through Jan. 6 at the Paragraph Gallery, 23 E. 12th Street, 816-221-5115. (S.R.)

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’s 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.)

Categories: A&E