New York Press, July 2006

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JULY 12, 2006

C. EDWARDS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

28-highbrow_flux.jpgOn the corner of Broadway and Jay Street a paranoid loner wanders an office complex at night; across town, on Rue de Poire, Julia Child is born and dies at the age of 92. Meanwhile, on Aggravation Alley, Nadia Comaneci and a group of costumed bunnies drift through heaven, hell and Eastern Europe. Welcome to the city of Opolis, the product of the third annual manifestation of Flux Factory’s Comix Fluxture exhibit in which 15 separate artists put their creative spin on a city block for the fictional metropolis: a blending of sequential art and architecture that combines the spectacle of installation art, with the intimacy of the comic narrative.

As expected, the results are as mixed as the artists themselves: Ian Montgomery’s forgotten row house stares up at Daupo’s Terminal Tower, crude but carefully rendered comic images covering its expansive sides. Beth Brandon’s library, with dreamlike tales of its own, overlooks the J.B. Liminal Park, a landscape architecture installation crafted by Nicole Tucker with suspended wooden structures nearby that house the city’s Futurological Society (a work by Leah Beeferman and Michelle Higa).

In his book, Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud defines the word “closure” as something that occurs in the margins between the panels of a comic book’s imagery, where human imagination takes separate images and translates them into a single idea. Comix Fluxture is built on closure, each installation able to carry multiple narratives, all of which come together to tell the story of Opolis itself; a tale that has as its most common element a lack of regard for time, seasons and reality. But whether or not each individual piece allows us to mentally construct a unified reality is debatable.

Rarely do you find a group exhibition that isn’t hit or miss, and Opolis is no exception. Very few of the artists have any real capacity for blending the sequential art with architecture to the level that the theme of the show implies, most just seem to give in to the idea of windows as comic panels or cryptic dioramas. Since there’s no real consideration for the perimeters of the gallery space, the entire show feels contained, and while most of the artwork will hold your interest, you probably won’t feel the need to re-visit anytime soon.

Opolis: a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Through Aug. 5. Flux Factory, 38-38 43rd St., Long Island City, Queens, 718-707-3362; Fri. 4-7, Sat. 12-5, Free.

Volume 19, Issue 28

© 2006 New York Press