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Psionic Distortion
Plum Blossoms Gallery
555 West 25th Street
Through April 30

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The international posse represented in "Psionic Distortion" deploys a flanking maneuver in Japan's pop invasion of Gotham. It is revelatory to see East Villager Paul Pope's gorgeous sumi ink brushwork in raw black-and-white Batman boards before their subtleties are lost in translation to DC's glossy color stock. Taiyo Kimura uses pencil for his tiny manga sketches—one bulb-headed creature cavorts atop his own dialogue balloons—which form the basis for video shorts of the artist grafting bathroom faucets, flashlights, and dead fish onto his body, creating grotesque parodies of kids' Transformer toys. In one excruciating segment he practically suffocates inside a plastic bag, morbidly recalling the Aum Shinrikyo cult's deadly gas attack on Tokyo's subway. In the center of the gallery, relics from recent sonic performances by Muneteru Ujino (power drills bolted to guitar bodies, a vinyl disc of Yes's warhorse Relayer spiked with colored-pencil stubs) form a visual mash-up. Jeremy Stenger's acetate painting of an eviscerated sparrow, which mimics the sharp-blurry focus pull of multi-layered animation cels, shares a tragic vision with Mikio Taka's watercolors of distended, drooling heads covered with farragoes of psychedelic tattoos and drenched in acid rain. They feel like stills from an anime epic set within the shadow of the bomb.

 
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