Many Works of Mischief at the "Mayhem" Show

Categories: Art

By Michael Singman-Aste

Promising "madness, mischief, and monkey business," four dozen artists from eight states are unleashed in "Mayhem," a national exhibition juried by Alan Bamberger of

This colloquial use of the word suggests being rowdy or disorderly, like the antics of Mr. Mayhem, the rascally spokesperson Progressive auto insurance introduced to "kick Flo's
ass." There's plenty of lighthearted pandemonium in Todd Berman's "Awesomeness" series of acrylic and "crowd-sourced mixed media" pieces -- all sunshine and smiles --
potential prankishness in the wide-eyed toddler left unsupervised in Joy Bertinuson's
"Looking for Trouble," and riotous bawdiness in John Martin's "Mayhem2" photo

But Mayhem isn't all fun and games, legally defined as willfully mutilating or crippling
a victim. Stanislav Groz's oil on canvas "Rejection" shows a man boiling with rage, his
edges blurred as though clouded by memory or fear, while Kristine Mays's scarred and
braced wire and metal torso, "The Complexities of 'Normal'" depict the aftermath of
being on the receiving end.

The exhibit zooms in and out, adjusting its scope from the personal to the global. From
the tiny tragedy of lips bloodied against a child's braces in Olivia Chen's startling oil on
canvas "Talk," to the staggering blows humans and nature deal one another, the ugliness
of mayhem is captured beautifully.

Mayhem starts at 7 p.m. (and continues through May 25) at Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom (between 8th and 9th St.), S.F. Admission is free; call 298-7969 or visit

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