CUTRONA’S DICHOTOMIES MAKE A STATEMENT
by Elizabeth Micheiman
In his mind, as in his art, Richard Cutrona seems to be in two places at once and sometimes more. Since getting his MFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University a few years back, he has frequently returned to Massachusetts to exhibit his work exploring Muslim-American themes and cross-cultural dialogue. His own “Good Question Gallery,” formerly bricks-and-mortar in Pennsylvania, has rematerialized in independently curated projects and pop-up shows in New Jersey, DUMBO, and currently, Chelsea. Exhibitions of his own also keep popping up.
Cutrona’s one-person show in February at Revival Gallery in Fitch- burg offered lenticular prints and new photo-based mixed-media works on paper; at the same time he also showed several pieces at Windham Art in Willimantic, Conn. Last year he showed at Kunstleben, Berlin and in a two-man show at BAU in Beacon, New York; two years back he soloed at Dorchester’s HallSpace. But most important to him recently was the 2013 east-west exhibition and cultural exchange in Rabat, Morocco, on which he based his Fitchburg show, “After Rabat.” His new imagery and formal ideas are still developing.
Dualisms sparkle in Cutrona’s politically astute, photographically inspired art. He has used lenticular print technology for several years to create eye-grabbing murals and book-sized images. (To see how it works, Google “lenticular flip Richard Cutrona.”) The lenticular print we see them as toys in Cracker Jack boxes has been used as political propaganda since Dwight Eisenhower to flash two images that reinforce or contradict each other. Cutrona exploits the visual instability of this format to explode the problem of black and white thinking in popular culture and politics.