Karen Meninno: Sculpture Remix and Robert Maloney: Points of Intersection

 On a recent rainy Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting and considering again the current exhibits – Karen Meninno in the Main Gallery and Robert Maloney in the Center Gallery. These exhibits and Susan Scott’s show Righteous Ordinary are up through April 30 at the Kingston Gallery.

Inspired by architecture and a recent trip to Rome, Karen Meninno’s work, which gestated as small sculptural elements, has evolved to digital wall coverings, displayed as scrolls of almost hallucinatory endless patterns. At first you don’t know what you are looking at – highly decorative, jewel-like images that reflect and mirror themselves. Totems of repetition, shape and colors evocative of another culture, they become both a hybrid and a translation, from sculptural objects to repeated patterns of pure delight. Her work resonates with a strong trend in Europe and here in the States of artists working in a variety of mediums who are creating wallpaper as part of their practice. She is aware of and inspired by many of them, like Kiki Smith, who work with Studio Printworks in New York. The artist seems poised to take orders!

Robert Maloney is also interested in the city, and takes us on a wonderful ride in a postindustrial world. His pieces straddle the line between structures being torn down and those being erected, as well as the elements of modern life that go unnoticed. A recent article in the New York Times, The Poetry in the Ruins of New York speaks to Maloney’s eye and his interest in this subject, and also alerts us to what is unseen. His wall of prints of repeated images push the medium, and explore a place, which becomes, through the treatment of the materials themselves, something new and knowable. A highlight of the exhibit is one of the small evocative sculptures, situated in a high corner, attached to the ceiling, which further explores the edges and disregarded parts of our urban environment.  These seem to be an especially strong new direction for the artist, and one that this viewer hopes he continues to follow, bringing his viewers with him.

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