July 4’s First Friday still offers plenty of options

First Friday falls on July 4, so some gallerists are expressing their freedom by concentrating on cookouts and fireworks instead of on art. But that doesn’t mean Independence Day comes without new things to see — and lots to read. 

Before taking a monthlong break, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore) has extended its shows through July 6. That means this weekend is your last chance to see Skyler Bieberly’s figurative — twisted figures — paintings, dozens of smaller ones and several mural-sized machinations of bright colors that belie the darkness of what is being expressed. Look closely to find the skulls throughout. Travis Porter’s Synchetizes Patterns, on the other hand, consists of clean, refreshing and attractively designed linocuts and screen prints. In Skin and Bones, Marcy Lally presents ghostly reminders of mortality, decorating blanched animal skulls with ceramic flowers in muted tones; the other half of that two-person show includes Apryl McAnerney’s take on the mysteries of death: a display of rows of white plaster masks tenderly made from the faces of more than 100 friends, artists and family members. On the wall nearby, simple lists identify people, along with their self-crafted epitaphs.

The likely reduced crowds means you’ll have a better opportunity to study all the details in Michael Young and Ian Young’s paintings at Todd Weiner Gallery (115 West 18th Street). Son Ian’s work is wildly popular — his entire show sold out opening night. Father Michael’s art is reviewed in this week’s issue, and we also spoke to the artist.

Elsewhere in the Bauer Building, Garcia Squared Contemporary has added some new pieces by Juan Chawuk, whose strong Un Ser Universal Maya is only his second U.S. solo show.

More after the jump.

The Blue Gallery (118 Southwest Boulevard) is showing new work by Stephen Dinsmore.

Beggar’s Table (2009 Baltimore) continues Amor Medicinae by Gabriela Perez.

Hilliard Gallery (1820 McGee) is previewing new, bright watercolor paintings by Tony Amendariz, who will be at the gallery July 11, when a number of Crossroads spaces are doing Second Friday because of the holiday.

Imagine That (2040 Central) has new work by people who will be brand-new to you, and the Jones Gallery (1717 Walnut) is trooping along with another group — again, the artists will more than likely be new finds.

The Late Show (1600 Cherry) has booked the traveling exhibition by Antonio Guerrero, who is one of the Cuban 5, arrested in 1998 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit espionage. Still incarcerated after a highly controversial trial, the men have a strong support network of activists working on their behalf. Proceeds from the sale of prints of Guerrero’s work go toward this effort.

Main Street Gallery (1610 Main) hosts a reception for Jessica Wisneski, a master of graphite whose unconventional portraits are rich with texture.

Plenum Space (504 East 18th Street) is showing “glitch and post-digital art” by Yuri Zupancic, who paints miniature people on the guts (motherboards, chips, etc.) of computers, which you can zoom in on with magnifying glasses. He also uses working computers and digital cameras to make video “paintings.” A large installation of blinking digital alarm clocks made its debut at the Free State Festival last weekend in Lawrence; inspired by firefly mating signals, Feral Clock Flicker is hypnotic, mixing “electronic chaos with natural beauty” in a nod to “the unknown future of human gadgetry as it takes on a life of its own.”

Vulpes Bastille (1737 Locust) opens Jillian Youngbird’s 6 Inches of Progress, an exhibition of drawings and paintings that weave together her personal experiences through highly detailed line-making and inspiration from Native American iconography.

Kultured Chameleon (1739 Oak) throws a Fourth of July barbecue today, with live music by White Lions, Negro Sco and Soopa Mooni Downz, and the expected food and fun.

Most ambitious this weekend: Plug Projects’ Art Book Fair (5-9 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday). Last year’s inaugural event was highly successful, with the Plug team curating a great selection of local and national artist-made publications and zines. This year, the West Bottoms gallery (1613 Genessee) transforms again into a comfortable book browsing (and buying) shop, with work from the likes of Green Lantern Press, Paper Monument, COLPA Press. (Local artists include Charlie Mylie, Kim Eichler-Messmer, Luke Rocha, The Hand Magazine, KC Zine Collective, Pioneer Press and Tea Time Publishing.)

And  there are a couple of fair-related events as well. At 5:30 p.m. Friday, Brooklyn artist and musician Sean Keenan gives a talk titled “Cross Pollination: Art and Music in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century.” There are also, at different times Friday and Saturday, Kerri Shadid’s spontaneous “Poetry Stand” moments: customized spoken-word for passers-by. And from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, the fair mounts a hands-on “bookology” tour, covering publication processes and producing a site-specific booklet.

Categories: A&E