Friday, August 11, 2000 - Art Reviews
                   A Mixed Bag: "A Collaboration," at Patricia
                    Correia Gallery, is a show with a neat and tidy concept: Twenty-eight
                    artists were invited to choose a partner and create a collaborative
                    work, to be displayed alongside other works made by the artists
                    individually. Quite an appealing notion, ripe with possibilities
                    for synergy, but not much in the way of cohesion happens here.
                    Mostly the results are muddled, like overly ambitious fusion
                    food that drowns the innate flavors of its ingredients. The
                    quality of those ingredients at the outset counts for a good
                    deal, though, and judging by the independently made works
                    on view here, the artists invited to participate were not,
                    overall, an impressive bunch. Teamwork only raised the stakes;
                    it didn't necessarily improve the tools.
                    Many of the artists work with an accretive
                    sensibility to begin with, and with a few notable exceptions
                    their assemblages and mixed-media pieces reflect a more-is-better
                    approach. "All This to End Up Dead" by Jack Howe, Craig La
                    Rotonda and Kim Maria (one of several three-person creations
                    in the show) enshrines an array of clues to a life--photographs,
                    rosary beads, medicine bottles, a Tarot card, key, tooth and
                    passport stamp--in a worn leather box. The veneer of time
                    lays heavily over all, giving the assemblage the feel of a
                    rusted memory. Susan Tibbles also contributes
                    an evocative assemblage, combining an old hand-colored photograph
                    of a smiling woman, a scrub brush and a violin bow. Woman,
                    tool and instrument conflate provocatively. Such concision
                    and eloquence are rare, however. A collage by Lynn Bennett
                    marries Dada and Pop to refreshing, spunky effect, and a trio
                    of small intriguing gouache-paintings by Ann Chamberlin and
                    Jo Didner present bizarre tableaux that call to mind the rich
                    incongruities that emerged when the Surrealists played their
                    parlor game of Exquisite Corpse, in which several artists
                    each contributed a section to a drawing without being able
                    to see the parts done by the others. Exquisite Corpse, as
                    a creative framework for collaboration was, in fact, reprised
                    several years ago for a show organized by the Drawing Center
                    in New York. That show shined; this one doesn't.