Video is photo-related, and there's an impressive example in the work of Luzia Ornelas, installed in a space that's been curtained off from the rest of the show. For her video, called "Morphiclingua," Ornelas filmed a face, but not straightforwardly — and has altered it using computer hocus-pocus. The face is projected on a monitor set into a stand with a device suspended above it. Viewers can move the device and thus alter the image as it's projected onto a grid of monitors covering one wall. The effect is remarkable, if at times disturbing.

The mainstream of the fine arts has always been painting and sculpture, and in these fields, Merge is a little weak. But there are some compelling works.

One of the best is a painting — or, more properly, a grid of them — by Evan Colbert. Called "NeoIcons," the grid includes symbols of everyday things done as signs in white on red roundels. Heidi Jung's piece combining recognizable imagery with painted flourishes is also very nice. So is "Aquasparktenticle," an eye-dazzling painting by Josiah Lopez in acrylic and spray paint on canvas. Lopez embraces garish colors, including lipstick reds, hot pinks, deep purples and acid greens, which he uses to lay out abstract forms with topographical qualities. At first glance, Mary Cay's "Oh Void" looks like a painting, but it's actually a set of bone-china panels in a gorgeous green on white.

"NeoIcons," by Evan Colbert, paint on panels.
"NeoIcons," by Evan Colbert, paint on panels.
"Aquasparktenticle," by Josiah Lopez, acrylics and spray paint.
"Aquasparktenticle," by Josiah Lopez, acrylics and spray paint.

Among the sculptures and related installations are some funky constructions by Mark Friday and Dave Seiler, both of which have a funhouse quality, and an elegant wall relief by Jennifer Jeannelle made of clay, wire, wax and other materials.

The new CVA is an impressive place, and though Merge is not the strongest show imaginable, it's appropriate to have presented it at this time, since it features former Metro students, and, more than that, hints at greater things to come.

Merge

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