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Review: Michael Pajon and Katrina Andry at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery 

Ex Libris and Consequences of Being run through May 27

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Have you ever felt nostalgic for nostalgia? Old movies, music and vintage objects open windows into the past while creatively nourishing the present, but lately a nostalgia for "good old days" that never were has morphed into a politicized pipe dream that's more like an alternate reality. Nostalgia is at its best when the magic of the past is eloquently yet insightfully delineated. Michael Pajon's An Appetite for Flesh & Bone, Lies and Cowardice is a poetic collage of an old-time horned devil. Inside his gaping, fang-festooned mouth is a hellish tableau of lost souls, executioners, fallen women and sows devouring corpses — a wonderful reminder of vintage pop culture back when hell reflected real showmanship. Nostalgia as a deeply psychological mythology characterizes Oracle of Stars, Maker of Champions, a collage shaped like a Grecian urn adorned with a skinned centaur wielding a battle ax while carrying a 1920s flapper through fields of Trojan warriors and vintage pin-up girls as the astrological cosmos sparkles overhead. In Ophelia Beset by Suitors, a blond maiden arises from cobra-infested lilies amid an aureole of thorns, serpents, skulls and buzzards. Clearly, the past was a perilous place. In Tears of Blood Strengthen the Weak (pictured), a commanding all-seeing eye shining forth from a Christo-pagan Hand of Power imposes the equilibrium of antiquity on the chaos of the present. Cobbled from vintage ephemera, these sublime visions suggest that a cool head and stylistic savoir faire can overcome all perils.

  Katrina Andry is known for meticulous expressionistic woodcut prints that probe the old misunderstandings and societal dysfunctions that continue to plague modern life. Her new work incorporates monotype portraits of imperiled youth in chilling tableaux such as Consequences of Being #2, in which a black man's lifeless head festooned with flowers and handguns seems to melt into the earth. But It's About Hard Work, Not Crippling Handouts for the Poor celebrates entrepreneurship as a drug dealer plies his trade in a biting, reverse-mirror image of dystopian consumerism.


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