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Review: Bodies of Waters at Big Car

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Paul Chatem, "Divine"
  • Paul Chatem, "Divine"

Bodies of Waters: 17 artists’ works inspired by the films of John Waters

Big Car Gallery; through Nov 19.

You can’t talk about John Waters without talking about Baltimore. This city’s landscape, dense with row houses and hugging Chesapeake Bay, gives his films a distinct ambience. Amy Casey captures that ambience in an acrylic on paper painting that shows Baltimore as a shining city on a hill accessible only by a noodle loop of highway.

But, of course, Waters films are more renowned for their deviance than for their ambience. Accordingly, you can’t expect to have a show featuring Waters-inspired work without a nod to Divine (the transvestite fixture in Waters’ films) — and there are a number of nods here, including a mixed-media painting by Paul Chatem that resembles a child’s board game.

Another Waters character, Hatchet-Face — from the film Cry-Baby—is the subject of a stunningly detailed and richly shadowed oil painting by Floyd Jaquay.

Thanks to such great entries, this show’s a triumph in its own right. But it’s also a triumph of coordination with other nonprofits involved in Waters’ upcoming visit to the Madame Walker Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 12, as part of the Spirit & Place Festival.

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