reviews > COVID-19

Although it’s spring, and flower exhibits are the art perennials of the season, there’s nary a tulip on view in BOOM BLOOM, a two-person show at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan. Paintings by Renee Robbins present riotously colored and marvellously dense studies of the natural world, in highly stylized configurations that recall the wonders of a coral reef in full health. Even those pictures that obviously aren’t of underwater scenes feel as if they are—or else perhaps they depict the glorious afterlife of plants. Echoes of Robbins’s forms can be found in the sculptures of Nikki Renee Anderson, also on view, but here they connote female bodies and sugary foods, whose excesses feel grotesque rather than gorgeous. Anderson’s ceramics, prettily hued, so glossy and smooth, are at once soft ice cream sundaes and pimply backsides; meringue puffs and disembodied breasts; caramel-sauced marshmallows and bloody intestines. Not quite the usual splendors of spring, but then, it’s been an unusual year.

—Lori Waxman 2021-04-27 1:51 PM