The Russian Constructivists, early pioneers of geometric abstraction, saw their utilitarian shapes as the pinnacle in universally accessible, democratic art. After all, who doesn’t understand the meaning of a square? But geometry also has a dark side. It’s ridged, cold, and impersonal; not unlike the totalitarian societies that often sprout from utopian aspirations.
Through March 3, Forms of Authority at Prairie in Northside explores this autocratic underbelly. Joseph Winterhalter’s large-scale paintings suggest the frosty interiors associated with oppressive institutions. Think mental ward. Toronto based artist Henry Navarro’s soft-edged watercolors provide sharp relief from the sever contours in his concrete on canvas works. And though local painter Stuart Goldman’s pictures feel the least connected to the others in terms of style, his curvaceous line and playful sense of color balance out a quality exhibition.