Anna Schachte, Let Them Dance
Break out your hottest moves — a forthcoming exhibition in South Boston asserts that the path to abstraction could go through dancing. "DISCO SUBLIME," which opens June 20 at Proof Gallery in the Distillery building, features two New York–based painters who, inspired by a talk given by artist Mary Heilmann at NYC's New Museum last year, decided to create art that would inspire the viewer to dance with the work. Heilmann often infuses pop-culture and craftmaking references into her abstracted images, and it's with that in mind that each artist sought to create a disorienting sensation of movement, from a perspective that might be swinging and swaying on a dance floor.
ANNA SCHACHTE and PAUL HEYER have been friends since first meeting in 2005, but their work is quite different. Schachte's Let Them Dance offers a group of darkly painted dancing figures beneath a refracting rainbow beam while someone on a ledge above them remains frozen in ecstasy (and holding a mic?). It's like a hallucinating crowd of mud people at Burning Man kicking up dust at the crack of dawn. Schachte works with abstracted ideas; for Heyer, the images themselves are non-representational. Like his other works here, January is about light and, more important, how it moves; there's a highly textured field of aqua with small, sweeping bands of bright color scattered throughout.
It wouldn't be a productive trip to South Boston without a stop at LaMontagne Gallery, which will open two shows June 18. "WIVES TALES" is a solo exhibition by Virginia-born LANGDON GRAVES, whose works on paper here revolve around superstitions about women. Her drawings are simple and almost devoid of color, with some female subjects wearing small masks or covering their mouths with their hands — gestures that are intended to be both seductive and spooky.
LaMontagne's other exhibit, however, sounds like the perfect post-disco afterparty, right down to the designer drugs. "ALEX DE CORTE: CASUAL LUXURY" will showcase of a number of brightly colored sculptural collages with everything from potted plants to found objects that attempt to recall the "artifice of drugs" and examine the stuff we choose to keep around us. In the gallery's own words: "Casual Luxury smells of cheap perfume on rayon, a pleather bean bag chair soaked in whiskey, and has all of the reward of a newly built prefab holiday home — yet, sarcasm lines this bright outer shell, and Alex Da Corte does not allow the viewer to take his work at face value." Take that, face value.
"DISCO SUBLIME: PAUL HEYER AND ANNA SCHACHTE" at Proof Gallery, the Distillery, 516 East Second St, South Boston | June 20–August 1 | 508-963-9102 or www.proof-gallery.com | "LANGDON GRAVES: WIVES TALES" + "ALEX DE CORTE: CASUAL LUXURY" at LaMontagne Gallery, 555 East 2nd St, South Boston | June 18–July 31 | 617.464.4640 or www.lamontagnegallery.com