The five New York artists in this all-woman show — on display, coincidentally, down the hill from the “WACK!” show at the MOCA Geffen — display only the most oblique feminist sensibilities. Perhaps Ginna Triplett’s dense webs of comic-bookish girl-heroes — Wonder Woman, Wonderland’s Alice — count as neo-gynocentric, or Gina Magid’s bird-of-prey imagery manifests the free spirit that ’70s feminists sought. But the expansive power of the work makes its own point. Anke Weyer and Ieva Mediodia, both northern European, explode across their canvases: Weyer in a dark, gestural, neo-abstract-expressionist fashion, Mediodia in a more linear but no less cataclysmic manner that mediates between Weyer’s girls-go-neue-Wilde and the cartographic vortices of fellow Gotham-based foreigner Julie Mehretu. The show’s one sculptor is Debora Warner, whose immense black rose sprawls across much of the floor.
Another downtown grouping charged with an unusual energy level, “Paper Bombs,” relies, as its name implies, on drawing — and everything else you can do with and to paper. Standouts among the more than 20 locals who harness this deceptively manipulable material include Jen Liu’s immensely scaled psychedelic blowout; Julie Kirkpatrick’s much more intimately scaled mixed mandalas; the exacting and weirdly corny portraits of aviatrix sisters by Mario Correa; Eli Langer’s incised, rough-textured black-on-black geometries; Dennis Hollingsworth’s descending, oozing blobs on vertically stacked sheets; the elegant perspectival loops (rather like freeway ramps) of Daniel Adams; day-glo cutouts Mary Kidd shows on the floor; Mary O’Malley’s intricate, hallucinatory hyperdoodles; and the little grisaille explosions of Jonathan Thomas.
By the by, “Les Fleurs du Mal” was curated by Elizabeth Balogh, former doyenne of the fondly remembered Al’s Bar. “Paper Bombs” was pulled together by Chinatown-based artist Bart Exposito (whose powerful one-man show has just opened at Black Dragon Society). “Les Fleurs du Mal” at Mary Goldman, 932 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m. (213) 617-8217. “Paper Bombs” at Jack Hanley, 945 Sun Mun Way, Chinatown; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m. (213) 626-0403. Both thru April 21.
Ieva Mediodia Untitled (2005) (Courtesy Mary Goldman Gallery)