“Void,” by Julian Callos—Acrylic and gouache on Rives BFK mounted on panel. 11.75 x 11.75″ $850
“Void,” by Julian Callos—Acrylic and gouache on Rives BFK mounted on panel. 11.75 x 11.75″ $850

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You know the city's gone Comicon crazy when even the high-end galleries are talking in bubbles and panels. Roq La Rue joins the geek parade with One Page, A Comics Show, a three-day-only exhibit curated by Robbie Lowery. Lowery's idea came from seeing artists selling individual pages from their comics at conventions. He drew together a wide range of artists—some comics pros, others newbies to the form—and tasked them each with creating one piece that tells a full narrative using original characters. The results are strong:

Death is a strong theme throughout—what better way to end a story? Except, in many pieces, death isn't the end. The show starts with Rosemary Valero-O’Connell's disturbing and masterful story of a woman repeatedly murdering her husband to keep a shadowy force in her mind at bay. You'll need to squint to make it out, but Julia Gfrörer's sketchy monochrome “Four Thieves” lets a character slip into death, only to be snatched back and returned to life. And the only piece to make full use of the exhibit space—Ben Rankel's “A Paradox," which jumps down the wall and onto the floor—sends its characters hurtling through a time loop of endless chases and suicides.

The spectrum is wide: Some paintings and photography have just the barest hint of a story, and spurn the architecture of a comic. Others look like they've been scanned straight from a zine or printed from a webcomic, with a quick trip to the frame shop in between. The most successful pieces combine meticulous technique with compelling narrative, giving us a satisfying glimpse into a particular moment in time. For the most part, it isn't hard to tell the professional artists from the chancers, but the show works best in those rare blurry instances when you can't.

2021 Social Justice Film Festival: ACTIVATE | REFUGE Online
Screening 50+ films that inspire and demand community action, October 7-17 at socialjusticefilmfestival.org.