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"Arcadia" brings contemplative landscapes to 1708 Gallery. 

The Lay of the Land

In 1708 Gallery's "Arcadia," curator Amie Oliver has assembled a small, beautiful exhibition of paintings from three artists who have associations both with 1708 and Fulton Hill Studios. "Arcadia," as the name would incline one to think, is a bucolic landscape show of sorts.

Silhouettes, some inscrutable flickering of light and boarded windows establish a haunting atmosphere. Beginning with the boarded windows are Louis Poole's paintings of forlorn, vacated cottages. A simple enough subject, the cottages assume a dramatic psychological impact. They come, after a moment of being empty buildings, to stand in for desires that run their course and luxuries that lose their purpose over time. Poole paints them with a rapid brush as though he, out of respect, was battling time for them.

Andras Bality's woodland scenes, often rendered from some distance above or away, propose the slightness of man in a vast environment of height and expanse. Not to be outdone by it, Bality shows his hieroglyphical protagonist solitarily hacking away at a tree or afloat in a small canoe. This is, after all, what men go to nature for — to test themselves against it at one or the other's expense. Bality's serene scenes of this ongoing act of conquest are reassuring to those on the side of nature. One imagines Bality's perspective is, in effect, God's view.

Larry Mullins interrupts the silence of the gallery with his obsessive deconstructions of memories. He is the foil to the show — every exhibition should have one. Nonetheless, the disquieting, checkered compositions that he has included add some complementary frenzy to the contemplative lay of the land, harmonizing like a tornado with the established
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