ART IN REVIEW; Mary King -- 'Nose to Nose, a Survey of Human Interactions' February 2003

ART IN REVIEW; Mary King — ‘Nose to Nose, a Survey of Human Interactions’

Published: February 21, 2003

Denise Bibro Fine Art
529 West 20th Street
Through March 1

In childlike fashion, Mary King draws whimsical personages engaged in human activities while relating to animated shapes. The relationships are often hard to fathom and the doings vague; they seem part of a highly personal narrative about which the viewer hasn’t a clue. Yet the artist’s visual inventiveness and wonderful sense of the silly can’t help but amuse.

In ‘’Her Daughter Is a Lesbian’’ a black man, all sleek head balanced on a tiny bare torso, gossips with a scandalized old lady, wearing a red scribble of a hat and a gray dress speckled like the sky behind her, rife with marshmallowy chunks of what may be snow. Behind them is a large green lollipop of a tree whose sleek stylization echoes the shape of the man’s head. It is a visual one-liner worthy of the comic-book-influenced Hairy Who school of Chicago in the late 1960’s and 70’s.

‘’Toby Joins the Magic Show (2)’’ is another mysterious scenario, in which a female performer seems appalled at the sight of a nude male, his genitals obsured by a blobby yet elegant black smudge. This episode, too, in Ms. King’s ‘’survey of human interactions’’ seems to be a clue to a tale we aren’t party to. But never mind. Its zany visual panache is enlivening enough. GRACE GLUECK

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