The Wirsum-Gunn Family Show
"Home is Where the Art Is," Jean Albano Gallery, through Tue 31.
A family of four talented artists sounds like the premise for a nauseatingly quirky Fox Searchlight picture, but the Wirsum-Gunn clan is the real deal.Father Karl Wirsum has history in the city as a member of the art group the Hairy Who (along with Ed Paschke, Jim Nutt and others). His new paintings here have the same zeal and cartoon buoyancy of his older stuff, and his love of puns hasn’t diminished: In Shoestring Query Can’t Beggars Be Shoe-Z, a stern-faced gladiator kneels down, holding a shoe that’s wearing an equally severe expression.
Mother Lorri Gunn—who also favors witty titles like Harold Angel: Jack Be Nimbus—shows a consistent knack for picking the best details to exaggerate and diminish in her colorful abstract portraiture, revealing those deep slices of personality so difficult to capture.
Son Zack ups the ante on his parents’ bon mot fixation (Either Let’s Face It, or Ignore Biological Basics, Its Not Broke, but Let’s Fix It, Before We Break It) but his work is all its own. Gloomy paintings with varied textures swaying between shattered safety glass and wood grain, they resemble the lost moments of sprawling dreams salvaged from the wreckage of morning.
The unassuming Wirsum is daughter Ruby, whose photographs of quietly rich urban landscapes wear simple titles. Red Gate, for instance, is just that, but her keen eye for compelling subject matter wears the family badge.—Josh Tyson