Capsule Reviews

John Ryan Moore: You have no faith in medicine Watching disaster unfold in real time on television is jarring, to say the least, and a force for Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) syndrome in the worst-case scenario. One word--9-11--brings to mind the power of televised violence and destruction to unravel the fabric of national identity in the conscious world while reinforcing its surreal clothing in the latent land of so many personal dreamscapes. John Ryan Moore's paintings make flat and colorful abstractions out of the painful reality of one such event: the mid-air disintegration of the shuttle Columbia over Texas in February 2003. Moore's use of plastic-based acrylic paint, coupled with an electric color palette, underscores how television, though plastic beyond compare, renders and constructs our reality according to shades of neon truth. In "OV-102 (eight events)," Ryan places two canvases of slightly different scale side by side. Moore has painted the shuttle's nose on the canvas on the left; on the right he's recorded the last 15 minutes of the shuttle's flight, from "debris" and "flash" to "loss of signal." With respect to painting and brushstroke, Moore renders the forms of the shuttle according to a combination of blobby, almost-dripping paint and sharp-shooting tape-inscribed lines in red and blue. This blending describes an artist torn between self and machine, the hand and the automatic line. With the first eight panels of the exhibition, "you have no faith in medicine," Moore trumps the lugubrious game of individual versus motor with eight panels, all brightly colored with contrasting lines running like telephone cables dashing overhead. He obstructs emotion and subjectivity entirely with "STS-107 (HMACBCR)" and "STS-107 (end)," two works that together constitute 12 ink-jet prints mounted on aluminum. Moore's work countenances the horror and psychological devastation of real-time televisual destruction with a clever yet wry system of icon-making. Through April 16 at the Janette Kennedy Gallery, South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar St., 214-426-1575. (Charissa N. Terranova)
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