Local artist Hal Honigsberg makes his solo debut with a series of mixed-media tableaux and a hilarious video installation that indicates that, at the very least, he is a jokester to be reckoned with.
"Based on a True Story" is the collective title of a group of works that seamlessly fuse photography and painting to create surreal, trompe l'oeil scenarios of angst and alienation. A bent, shard-like figure is the common denominator in a variety of situations that resemble nightmares of claustrophobia, entrapment and shifting spacial parameters. Although the language of surrealism has become predictable, Honigsberg's deceptive confusion of media and representational deceits provides results that are at once stylized and visceral, sarcastic and poignant.
"Bad Reception" is an accompanying video installation that both complements and forces us to reevaluate the mixed-media works. In the gallery window, ominous, pod-like forms and slippery tadpoles made from steel wool are set against a backdrop of hay. Inside, a portion of the room has been set aside as a TV den, complete with VCR and the artist's framed birth, marriage and degree certificates. The video itself consists of a montage of film and television segments on fictional and real-life artists. This Hollywood view of the art world is everything one might expect: always cliched, and by turns stupid, suspicious and awestruck. Given such media hogwash, the spawning ground/barnyard setting, and the slippery nature of Honigsberg's own artworks, we become leery of everything in the gallery, including our own ideologically conditioned responses. Is Honigsberg pulling the wool over our eyes, or simply trying to deflect criticism through ironical gamesmanship? Stay tuned. (Eilat Gordin, 644 N. Robertson Blvd., to Oct. 4)