Reviews & Essays
Regina Granne: Shattered World and Related Works
The Boston Globe
Amy Cutler serves up magical illustrations, such as “Dinner Party”, that focus on the power of women; “Shattered World” is an example of Regina Granne’s quiet, thoughtful expression of antiwar feelings in paintings that are essentially still lifes; and Dmitri Davander deals in giddy contrasts of sunlight and shadow in his works, including “Cavendish, Vt.”

Still lifes against war . . . It would be easy to get caught in Regina Granne’s political agenda and miss how many layers of space, reality, and perception she has folded into her paintings and drawings at Genovese/Sullivan Gallery. But it’s because her canvases have an open-ended, almost trictster’s approach to their subject that they can carry off her politics. A lot of political art can be – like politics itself – pat, shrill, and divisive. Granne, whose anti-war agenda is hardly unpopular in these parts, takes a quieter, more thoughtful route.

Essentially, her paintings are still lifes. She sets of tableaus that typically include photographs and maps laid flat, with reproductions of drawings by children in Baghdad and other war-torn areas folded into paper airplanes. Then she paints them. Often, the diagonal angles from which she comes at these tableaus suggests deeper space around them. At the same time, corners and table edges lend the tableaus a kind of geometric abstraction, flattening them into emblems.

In “After the Fall (Red Table III),” we’re looking down on a round red tabletop surrounded by black. Granne has lad images upon it of tanks in fiery combat – one a photo, one a children’s drawing; the contrast is unnerving. The paper airplanes rest on top. You can read both innocence and menace into the airplanes. “Shattered World” has the planes circling a map that has been torn and tattered, casting gray shadows that are paler than the dark ground. Are they the hope of childhood, the potential to mend a world torn apart, or are they bombers, portents, of even more damage? Granne offers no answers, but she able demonstrates the many ways we can portray, process, and perceive the effects of war.

- Cate McQuaid