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Will the recession bring about a renaissance in painting? ARTnews seems to think so. A recent article predicted a move away from video and installation-based art, toward the more tangible painting and sculpture. “When the economy falters, there can be a remarkable growth of seriousness in art,” David Ross, director of Albion New York, told the magazine. In that case, consider Erik Thor Sandberg a thoroughly recession-proof artist. His paintings in “Cyclical Nature,” one of three solo exhibitions for the 10th anniversary of Conner Contemporary, place nudes in the grandeur of nature but fill their surroundings with mysterious absurdity. Like the Flemish painters that Sandberg emulates in technique, he fills his canvas with symbolism. Much of it—say, a gun, a black shroud, a tooth—represents life, death, and rebirth. Sandberg fills his background with endless pristine meadows and lakes, but carnality is always in the forefront. Also exhibited are Dean Kessman’s “Architectural Intersections,” in which the artist turns his large-format lens to the shadowy corners of all-white rooms. The minimalist result is barely recognizable as a corner—or photo, for that matter—at all. Isaac Maiselman’s “Entre El Diablo, El Dios” examines the impurity of religion, showing the artist’s efforts to cleanse the Bible of violence, quite literally.

THE EXHIBITIONS ARE ON VIEW FROM 11 A.M. TO 5 P.M. WED.–SAT., TO MAY 23, AT CONNER CONTEMPORARY, 1358-60 FLORIDA AVE. NE. FREE. (202) 588-8750.