“It’s a small show, but potent” is how Joie Lassiter described the current work in her gallery to me when I visited recently. It is an accurate description I think. Barbara Schreiber’s work is deceptively light from afar, almost cheery at first glance with her bold saturated colors and playful compositional schemes. But then at closer look, you realize that there is often something not quite right. Going awry is actually a better term. Oftentimes a picture’s caption will clue you in such as the glum Pony is Sad or the menacing Hyena Can’t Help It (which depicts one of the critters carrying off its young prey in its jaws.) These are images with troubling hints in them, apropo for our current troubled times characterized by a prevailing, clouded sense of judgment and ambiguousness on the part of corporate wrongdoers with regards to owning up to their own responsibilities and shortcomings (think certain Wall Street’ers and BP for example.)
Schreiber’s Final Boarding paintings have titles such as family from hell and skank so you get the idea this series of pictures of people all boarding the same airline flight are not exactly in for the time of their lives. There’s a circling shark and a plague of locusts included in the series and a grim reaper thrown in at the end as well to remove any lingering doubts. The effect is like Edward Gorey’s content and characters having a meet-up with David Hockney’s palette. I enjoyed the adventurousness of these pictures and appreciate Schreiber’s exploration of the dark turn of whimsy. It reminds you that things are not always what they seem.
Joie Lassiter Gallery is located in Charlotte’s Historic South End at 1430 South Mint Street