A school of neon fish flash on and off, lighting up a corner of the room. Bizarre furniture, frmo a gouged and spiky table and chair to a be-jeweled bunny-headed dresser, occupies the floor space. Fanciful fiberglass sculptures, resembling strange undersea and outer space creatures, glow with an inner light under paintings of pop culture characters.
Welcome to "Apartment for Rent," an installation at Matrix Gallery that is part of the citywide "Introductions" series designed to showcase artists new to Sacramento. Four artists make their debut in the Matrix show: Karl X. Hauser, Laura Jacobs and Isabel Samaras, all from the Bay Area, and Lea Pianna of Santa Cruz.
Hauser's neon sculptures range from the fish, which dart across the wall in an endless array of fascinating patterns, to funky lamps that resemble figures or architectural objects. Pianna's light sculptures are softly glowing, brightly colored organic forms made of fiberglass and painted fabric.
Much of Jacobs' furniture, expressionistically carved and adorned with tusklike protrusions, is menacing yet elegant. Other pieces, like the bunny dresser and a folksy rocker adorned with primitive paintings, seem ideal for a child's room.
Samaras' cheeky paintings on TV trays place pop figures in mythological settings. In a twist on "The Judgment of Paris," Batman judges Catwomen Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer. In other scenes, Charlie's Angels are cast into hell and a green and bloated Elvis is lugged up to heaven by a bevy of cupids.
They all add up to an appealingly goofy show in Matrix's new quarters on Del Paso Boulevard.