Visual arts review
“A Tale of Two Cities”
Alan Avery Art Company. Through Jan 16. 315 E. Paces Ferry Road. 404-237-0370. www.alanaveryartcompany.com.
By Catherine Fox
“A Tale of Two Cities” is a good title for the two-man exhibit at Alan Avery Art Company.
It applies on a literal level: Maxx Morgan’s paintings depict Atlanta; Bryce Hammonds’ works are set in Brooklyn. But it also works as a reference to the Charles Dickens novel of that title, whose memorable opening is a series of oppositions (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times‚”), as are these artists’ visions.
Morgan’s Atlanta is dynamic and glamorous. His views of the city are invariably night scenes. Many of them portray the downtown skyline, a shimmering Oz silhouetted against a jet black background, and the expressway as a river of headlights coursing through it.
The Atlanta artist is clearly enamored of light effects, from the drama of neon streaking through the air to the vaporous glow from buildings seen from a distance.
If his Atlanta is George Clooney in a tuxedo, Bryce Hammond’s Brooklyn is an artist in a T-shirt.
The former Atlantan bares reality in the cold light of day. His is not the gentrified Brooklyn but a neighborhood of stolid buildings, graffiti and threadbare apartments.
Form follows suit. In contrast to the wispy, almost dematerialized vision of Atlanta, Hammond creates solids and three-dimensional interior spaces. In place of romance, he offers authenticity.
In the end, the differences between the two artists’ paintings make both more interesting.
Catherine Fox blogs about art and architecture at www.ArtsCriticAtl.com