She throws in stuff I generally like — folk painting, quilting, mid-century children’s-book illustration, cartoons, a giant squirrel, adolescent bathroom humor, nudity. I practically feel duty bound to go all gooey for her art, but I’m left feeling indifferent instead.
A lot of contemporary artists have this charming, handmade, crafty look. Rojas, who was born in 1976 and got her BFA from RISD, is often grouped with West Coasters like Barry McGee, whose interests include graffiti, and his late wife, Margaret Kilgallen, whose cartoony tramp art broadsides were featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. In fact, McGee, who had a solo show at Brandeis in 2004, now dates Rojas.
Pictures I’ve seen of Rojas’s other shows seem more mysterious and original, more individual. At Brandeis, her images feel precious and cold, the jokes half-baked. She has impeccably hip tastes, but here she hasn’t digested them and made them her own.
“Clare Rojas: Hope Springs Eternal” | Rose Art Museum | Brandeis University, 415 South St, Waltham | through April 1
“Loïs Mailou Jones: The Early Works: Paintings and Patterns 1927–1937” | School of the Museum of Fine Arts | 230 The Fenway, Boston | through October 14