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.)

Haunted States A week and a half after Halloween, Grand Arts unveiled an exhibit of personal ruminations — through video, photography and other computer-based work — on the truly uncanny in contemporary culture. Laurel Nakadate’s 9/11 footage is scored with Paris Hilton’s single “Stars Are Blind”; Mathilde ter Heijne’s video borrows from three French films made in the ’80s and ’90s, all featuring ill-fated heroines named Mathilde, to immortalize a fictional version of the artist and her dummy double. The notion of the doppelgänger reappears in CarianaCarianne’s split-screen videos and again in Siebren Versteeg’s “Neither There nor There,” in which his image dissolves as it moves from one flat screen to another, one pixel at a time. Also included are Mariah Robertson’s digitally unaltered, large-scale photographs, in which she employs special-effects filters to document invisible energy. Think creepy, not scary. Through Dec. 16 at Grand Arts, 1819 Grand, 816-421-6887. (A.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 Zielinksi 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 Leawood, 913-266-8413) and JCCC Gallery of Art (12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park, 913-469-8500, ext. 3972). (S.R.)

Leslie Lerner: My Life in France, 1990-2005 In these 15 large paintings, the late Leslie Lerner depicts oversized and animated individuals towering over their surroundings. A recurring character, the Lost Boy, seems both part of and apart from his environment, as if he has wandered off the pages of a children’s fairy tale. For example, “My Life in France … The Lost Boy, High Sierra” is painted with acrylic and varnish, and features the Lost Boy in a pageboy haircut, blue coat and pants, standing with his back to the viewer. Tiny blue goats decorate a nearby hillside, and the huge sky darkens as it nears the top of the canvas. Lerner creates a sometimes sad but overwhelmingly romantic world. At the Byron C. Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, 2020 Baltimore Avenue, 816-421-5665. (R.T.B.)

The Naked and the Nude: Representations of the Body According to scientific estimates based on recently unearthed cave drawings in France, human beings have been drawing human bodies for around 27,000 years. Yet it wasn’t until the 20th century that German painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner categorically declared the nude to be “the basis of all fine art.” Kirchner is among the artists in the Nelson’s survey of drawings, lithographs and etchings depicting the naked (negative — unclothed, unsheltered, exposed) and the nude (positive — bold, at ease, free) by European artists from the 18th century onward. Themes are diverse: Apart from a pair of traditional free-standing nudes from Frenchmen Edgar Degas and Théodore Géricault, Greek myths inspire Pablo Picasso (“The Rehearsal”) and Alexandre Jacovleff (“Theseus and the Minotaur”), and a scene from the Gospels is rendered in Emile Nolde’s etching (“Christ and the Sinner”). Edouard Manet’s aquatint Christ is beaten, vulnerable, naked — an ironic portryal of the man sent to restore the pre-fall nudity of Adam and Eve. Through April 27 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak, 816-751-1278. (S.R.)

Lisa Sanditz: Flyover Missourian and painter Lisa Sanditz lives in New York but hasn¹t 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 world¹s largest underground business complex, located in Kansas City. Her acrylics also cover Dollywood (“Dolly Parton¹s Peaks”), Siegfried and Roy¹s Mirage Hotel (“Pussy Den”) and “Oklahoma City on New Year¹s Eve.” Sanditz colors as wildly as Matisse and doesn¹t aim at representation; rather, she intensifies the essence of a place with abstraction and brightness. It¹s enough to prompt cross-country travelers to ask for more connecting flights. Through Jan. 7 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784. (S.R.)

Categories: A&E