Art Capsule Reviews

Terri Bright: Inner Order Terri Bright says she’s a stranger in most of the places where she takes pictures. Her goal is to document the tension between the disorder of her actual surroundings and her internal desire for pictorial order. As a result, her series of photographs is about color, light, shape and symmetry — among her chromogenic prints, we find uniform arrays of trees; bare, rectangular walls with square windows and black shadows; a lonely, vacant gas station; and expanding ripples of water. There’s no use trying to focus on action or admire details — the work provokes thoughts about structure and shape. Despite her effort, though, Bright fails to impose order: There are cracks on the wall, one of the trees is smaller than the rest, and someone in that gas station must have turned on the light. That’s what keeps us looking. Through Oct. 28 at the Society for Contemporary Photography, 520 Ave. Cesar E. Chavez, 816-471-2115. (S.R.)

Chuong Doan: Ten: A Decade of Vietnamese Photography In 1975, when Chuong Doan was 9 months old, his family fled Vietnam and immigrated to Sedalia, Kansas. He didn’t return until the early 1990s; lucky for us, the self-taught photographer has made nine other trips since then, amassing a thick portfolio of photographs capturing sundry aspects of Vietnamese life. “The Gap” records the poignant image of a city girl whose mouth is covered to shield her from urban smog, a speeding motorcyclist grins through a wet “Saigon Rainstorm,” and “Monk’s Retreat” offers a look inside the hidden world of Eastern mystics. These are teasers, parts of a hidden whole, but the Barbershop’s limited space restricts us to a mere 15 works. Doan tells us he won’t make it back to Vietnam for another year or two; we hope to see more of his work before then. Through Oct. 15 at the Barbershop Gallery, 415 E. 33rd St., 816-200-4698. (S.R.)

Gajin Fujita: Zephyr By mixing traditional Japanese images into his graffiti-inspired paintings, Gajin Fujita creates what he calls a “dialogue” between two cultures — his native Los Angeles and his Japanese lineage — that’s repeated in exciting scenes throughout this show. In “Ride or Die,” Fujita uses spray paint, acrylic, paint marker and paint stick for a vibrant portrait of a warrior atop a reeling horse. Flying arrows surround him as he proudly carries a Los Angeles flag; behind him, indecipherable letters and words fill the tagged wall. (For blushes and giggles, head to the back of the gallery for erotic paintings with titles such as “Bangin'” and “Knockin’ Boots.”) Through Nov. 5 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784. (R.T.B.)

Megan Mcginnis Family photos never felt so creepy. Megan Mcginnis captures seemingly innocuous events in snapshots and then paints them with subtle changes so they’re somehow scary — we’re not sure why we should be weirded out, but we are. Two girls seated in front of a dollhouse in “Shared Room” look at the viewer with a blank stare; a veil of whitewash separating the girl in the background from the older girl in the foreground creates a sense of foreboding, heightening our anxiety. Mcginnis uses her camera’s depth field to create a similar feeling of unease in “Big Boy,” in which an adolescent boy is seated in front of a TV in what appears to be a rec room; Mcginnis has smeared a bit of paint around his eyes as the light from the basement window trickles down. Even the few smiling faces in Mcginnis’ images foretell awful things. Through Oct. 28 at Byron C. Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art, 2020 Baltimore, 816-421-5665. (A.E.F.)

Jane Pronko: New Work and Private Stock At a Late Show exhibit last year, we loved Jane Pronko’s oil paintings on first sight. Pronko paints the mysteries of city streets at night, when streetlights, traffic signals and vehicle headlights are the only sources of light. Her gorgeous work explores the line between lonely and wondrous. She earns additional points for sometimes using Kansas City locations — “Pink Snow” depicts the 18th and Vine District. This Pi Gallery show includes old and new work by Pronko. (One piece was still drying on the day we went.) Contrasting her haunted night scenes are autumnal landscapes in which the sunlight is always diffuse and nature’s graceful arrangements reveal themselves in, for example, stream gently cutting through a field. Ultimately, the countryside is just as anonymous and impenetrable as its urban counterpart. Through Oct. 28 at the Pi Gallery, 419 E. 18th St., 816-210-6534. (R.T.B.)

Lisa Sandvitz: Flyover Missourian and painter Lisa Sandvitz 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”), Siegfriend and Roy’s Mirage Hotel (“Pussy Den”) and “Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.” Sandvitz colors as wildly as Matisse and doesn’t aim at representation; rather, she intensifies the essence of a place with abstraction and brightness. It’s 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