Nate Lewis (image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Strange Beach
Opening Tuesday, July 24 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 31.

Summertime is a time for going to the beach, but that’s not what this group exhibition at Fridman Gallery is about, despite the name. Rather, it’s a “metaphor for the body,” framing one’s physical form as a vessel of sorts that can advance, retreat, swallow up others, be intruded upon, amass debris and valuable items alike over time. Three artists comprise Strange Beach: Arghavan Khosravi, Nate Lewis, and Tajh Rust, who incorporate themes of race, social history, portraiture, and the marginalized retaking their own narratives, whether this be through drawing on photographs to create something celestial or painting portraits of people using their own skin tones to inform the color palette.

(image via Babycastles / Facebook)

Opening Thursday, July 26 at Babycastles, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. On view through August 5.

Though not everyone may agree, more and more people are starting to see video games as art, rather than just something to be played. But even when games are strictly seen as a form of play, there can be implicit rules for who is allowed to partake. Babycastles’s latest show Multiplay seeks to take on this secret, insidious set of limitations in search of “more inclusionary forms of play and art.” After all, games are a form of fiction, and fiction gives us the chance to create worlds and interactions that may not exist in our current world, at least in a widespread sense. The show combines more formal video games with “immersive technologies,” asking artists to collaborate with each other in order to create something new.

(image courtesy of Tai Lee)

Nation of the Mind
Opening Friday, July 28 at The Living Gallery Outpost, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. On view through July 28.

Something that people might forget about the process of creating visual art is it can be expensive. You have to obtain paints or pencils or pastels or markers or what have you, then something to paint on, sometimes you have to have a canvas stretched, maybe get an easel or something, the list goes on. Of course, there are ways to bypass needing to engage so overtly with capitalism in order to create. Artist Tai Lee (who is a friend of mine) makes their paintings on found materials, primarily pieces of plastic or fiberglass snatched up from areas of the city prone to development and gentrification. On it, Lee paints colorful scenes featuring figures that are both human and something more, intermingling with imagery that nods to anatomy, science experiments, creatures from Filipino mythology, and more.