Conceptual artist Alice Shaw gracefully balances humor and serious commentary—here, global warming and pollution—in her fifth solo exhibition at Gallery 16 (through April 21). Employing photography, sculpture, canvas, and/or paint, Shaw wittily, slyly, pointedly relays her thoughts and observations about the deteriorating state of our surroundings.
Some works hit like one-liners, such as Evidence of Global Warming—Former Goldfish Habitat (2012), a fish bowl filled partway with sand with a piece of driftwood sticking out of it. Others reveal in layers, such as Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same (2011), a photo of trees in a forest; at center are trees whose leaves are changing, surrounded by evergreens. Also subtle, and cheeky, is Panorama (2012), which at first appears to be only a raw canvas; closer inspection reveals a forest landscape painted along the sides, just brushy enough to deliver the image, just quiet enough to not be obvious.
Throughout this large show (there are a total of 26 pieces) of generally smaller works (most pieces measure in the range of 10-by-13 inches), we are, one work after another, compelled to stop, look, smile, and think. Shaw’s unique vision and clever perspective, an enduring pleasure in all her work, is once again superbly translated into objects, of art.