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Sharon Kopriva
at Colton & Farb Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Troy Schulze

The Catholic themes addressed by Kopriva take a lighter, more hopeful tone in her current series of 'Cathedrals, Phantoms and Naked Dogs.'

In her new series of mixed-media paintings, “Cathedrals, Phantoms and Naked Dogs,” Sharon Kopriva continues her exploration of Catholic imagery and themes, but this time in a lighter and more hopeful tone — there isn’t a “living corpse” sculpture of a bishop, pope or saint to be seen. Kopriva turns to architecture here, particularly Gothic cathedrals, and she augments their grand facades and vaulted interiors with swirling spirits, encroaching nature and animals. The artist’s own Peruvian Hairless dogs are the show’s major characters, depicted as ghostly guardians of the cathedral. Aside from the “MileStone” series, small iconic works chronicling dramatic world events like 9/11, Hiroshima and Tiananmen Square, each of Kopriva’s large canvases have been prepped with an inkjet print of a Gothic structure or a stained-glass window, to which Kopriva applies her imagery. It’s used to startling effect in works like “Sanctum” and “Hallowed Hall,” in which trees become the structural elements of the churches, growing into the walls and framing the tall windows that seem to actually glow. They are the most impressive pieces by Kopriva to date.

Also on display is new mixed-media work by Angelbert Metoyer, titled “Levels, Forms and Dimensions” and subtitled “Research in Progress.” Metoyer’s compositions are always pleasing, even though his repetition of elements and motifs is more oblique and abstract than Kopriva’s. The imagery tends toward the cosmic, sometimes containing a pop element, such as a repeated horse. It feels like a clinical exercise in symbolic meaning — engaged in actual research. If Kopriva’s dogs are the souls of the show, Metoyer’s horses in double-profile are the heads. It’s a worthwhile study of symbol, ritual and two artist’s personal religions. 

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