Arts » Visual Arts

Review: Emma Overman's 'Carousel'



5 stars
Harrison Center for the Arts; through March 25.

I wrote last week about how some of Emma Overman's characters are able to convey complex emotions ("The All-Ages Art of Emma Overman," March 2-9). It would be a mistake, however, to try to try to tease out adult complexities from much of her new painting because it's so focused on the things that she loved as a child.

Take, for example, her "Barnum's Animal Crackers." Painted with acrylic on wood cutouts in the shape of the Barnum bunch (Barnum's Zebra, Barnum's Hippo, etc.), these works are distinctly Overmanesque — wide-eyed, oddly shaped, and in the case of Peanut Girl, oval-headed, but they are neither complex nor adult.

One thing to note here and elsewhere is the way that she uses all of her media—not just the paint. She utilizes the surfaces she paints on as well as her frames, which are often bought in antique stores, to achieve the (often nostalgic) effects that she wants to achieve.

And the effect of this show as a whole, which gives you her take on childhood totems ranging from Sleeping Beauty to Mr. Bubble, is to give you a kaleidoscopic glimpse inside the childhood closet of an exceptionally gifted illustrator/painter who may just be on the brink of major success.


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