The art world tends to fetishize its heroes. A shovel owned by Marcel Duchamp, a broom from Jasper Johns’s studio - such things become relics. Richard Bosman’s show, “Art History, Fact and Fiction,’’ at Carroll and Sons, is clearly the work of a fetishist. He has made trompe l’oeil paintings of the shovel and the broom, as well as paintings of the interiors of artists’ studios such as those of Willem DeKooning and Barnett Newman.
Trompe l’oeil is the operative phrase here. Bosman pays homage, but there’s also something saucy, something tricky, if you will - trompe l’oeil means “trick the eye,’’ after all - about his work. The centerpiece of the show, the installation “Museum Wall,’’ from a distance looks like a salon-style exhibit of masterpieces: a Picasso, a Magritte, a Gauguin, and many more. Get up close, and you’ll see that Bosman has painted each with his own loose, assured brushwork. And what looks like a carved, ornate frame from a distance is actually an array of smears and dabs on canvas.
Black-and-white photos in a book are the source for some of his paintings of studios. “Barnett Newman’s Studio’’ is neat as a pin. Chairs sit idly before two large canvases from Newman’s stark, legendary “The Stations of the Cross’’ series, black zips hurtling down white canvases. A black-dipped brush sits on a closed paint can on the floor. Maybe someone has stopped in, and Newman has put down his brush to chat.
While these paintings are fastidious, Bosman adds his own details, such as a newspaper and a girlie calendar in “DeKooning’s Studio.’’ He honors his predecessors, but with sly winks and deceptive brushwork; he makes work that’s as much about painting itself as it is about painters, and the way paint conjures not only imagery, but ideas, and value, and icons.
Gary Duehr has affixed yellow-and-black striped tape to the floor of his photo installation at Bromfield Gallery. Like everything around it, the tape is skewed, in a rhomboid shape, playing with the viewer’s sense of space.
Duehr photographed planes on the tarmac, and the tape echoes striped guides on that blacktop. He has placed an orange cone in the corner. The photos - including a wall-size triptych, and four mounted on aluminum perched on signposts, as well as smaller wall pieces - convey dizzy motion. Planes loom and tilt. Everything feels angled and off-center. Blurry and bright, “Tarmac,’’ the triptych, has a plane taxiing to the left, angled so that the tarmac rises sharply on the right.
In “Night Flight #1,’’ a plane comes at us with its nose in shallow focus, the rest a fuzz. There’s threat inherent in these images, although many take on a surprisingly cheery light, and it’s not a threat the TSA would care about. This space between being on the ground and flying is liminal, and, as Duehr calls his show, it is a “No Man’s Land.’’
Ellen Wineberg’s paintings, also at Bromfield, share Duehr’s unnerving mash-up of bright and dark. Wineberg uses heavy impasto, and with all those layers there’s a sense that anything might creep out from in between. Downright perky images appear - the huge-eared dog in “Papillon,’’ the comic strip character Little Lulu - but often, as in “Little Lulu Dreams of Love,’’ the paint rains down and threatens such figures with mudslide - albeit a glittering one.
In “Death by Art,’’ star shapes rise off the surface of the canvas, and unblinking eyes float above. Colors are bright as spring. In the middle of this two-panel piece, a red head appears, reminiscent of the figure in Munch’s “The Scream.’’ Like many works in this exhibit, it’s a candy-colored nightmare.
States of being
Susan Metrican, a grad student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, has curated a handsome pop-up show in a storefront at 225 Friend St., which she says used to house a furrier but has been empty for some time. Her exhibit, “Hung Jury: A Show of 12 Men’’ takes loose inspiration from the movie “12 Angry Men,’’ but it isn’t really about masculinity (or the judicial system).
The show is wide-ranging, but hangs together well, with lively crosscurrents between abstraction and representation. Sean Downey’s paintings spring from this very juncture. His odd narrative canvases, such as “Stereograph,’’ are about constructing space, and the ritualistic aspect of art making, and history.
Then there’s Jim Cambronne’s “Pi,’’ a pulsating mosaic of a grid, with thumbprint-size colored marks in rows over a striped background. There’s got to be an algorithm behind this painting’s construction, but while the image is orderly, it’s also lusciously painterly.
Steve Locke’s portraits are expressionistic and loose, but there’s always a feeling of nakedness about them. “The Architect,’’ for instance, sticks his tongue out. Rob Smith’s small sculptural works, such as “Swamp Hex,’’ intrigue, but don’t quite resolve. This one features red, earthy peaks amid curving, mirrored forms, some with crystals strung on by pink tethers. They’re too small; on a human scale, they have the potential to be magical.
If you go:
RICHARD BOSMAN: Art History, Fact and Fiction
At: Carroll and Sons,
450 Harrison Ave., through March 31.
GARY DUEHR: No Man”s Land ELLEN WINEBERG: In Context
At: Bromfield Gallery,
450 Harrison Ave., through March 31.
HUNG JURY: A Show of 12 Men
At: 225 Friend St., through March 16.
Cate McQuaid can be reached at email@example.com.