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to nov. 11
Somewhere between eviscerated organs and cutesy calligraphy—that’s where Maggie Michael’s paintings live these days. Prior to “Open End,” her current solo show at G Fine Art, she’s kept these two motifs pretty well separated. Her paintings were typically comprised of overlapping pools of latex on raw canvas. Her drawings, meanwhile, suggested more destructive energies, with their blotches of ink and haphazard conglomerations of line—ruled, sprayed, and otherwise. Michael’s 15 new paintings dispense with the difference, and the results look like a cataclysmic escalation—biology, ecology, and comic book art, all going to hell together. In Swim: Reach, two dark patches of poured enamel, resembling monolithic slugs, fill most of the canvas; between them, thin blue curlicues suggest rising clouds of steam. Underneath these, a cluster of tactile dollops looks like an eruption of plasticized nipples. In Valley: Bat, a large flap of peach-colored paint has been peeled back and is held open by an incongruous piece of green duct tape, thereby exposing little piles of greenish enamel—like silly string, or intestines. It’s all a tad familiar, recalling the cloudbursts of color and cartoonish linear language in Jiha Moon’s work, conveniently available just down the hall at Curator’s Office. And neither Michael nor Moon can help but draw comparisons with a whole slew of young New York artists who tread a similar path between expressionism and doodling. But novel or not, Michael shows off a keen empathy for the stuff of painting, consistently producing work that’s funny, surreal, and disturbingly sexualized (Throw is pictured). The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to Saturday, Nov. 11, at G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 462-1601. (Jeffry Cudlin)