(image via Front Room Gallery)

Back To Nature
Opening Wednesday, September 5 at Front Room Gallery, 7 pm. On view through October 21.

If you ever rode the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, you’ll recall paintings hung on some of the walls that had eyes that appeared to follow you as you moved your own from side to side. Spooky! That’s sort of how I feel when I look at the wide-eyed paintings done by Amy Hill, who is opening a solo exhibition at Lower East Side’s Front Room Gallery on Wednesday. Her portraits are realistic while also being surreal and a little creepy (even the cats stare at you with unblinkingly large eyes), bringing the style of 19th century American folk art into more modern times. Rather than setting her figures in the 21st century, she curiously grounds them in 1960s counterculture, where peace-sign necklaces and fringed leather replace any peasant frocks. We never actually found that peace, did we…

(image courtesy of Sapar Contemporary)

A Street of Many Corners
Opening Thursday, September 6 at Sapar Contemporary, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 10.

It’s rare to find any sort of art that isn’t commenting in some way on something that came before it. Sometimes it’s more subtle, but it’s pretty much always there. In the case of Marela Zacarias’s upcoming solo show at Sapar Contemporary in Tribeca, it’s a little more pronounced: the artist is deliberately drawing from the abstract art movement that flourished in the 1930s, something she has been doing in her work since 2013. More specifically, Zacarias shines a light on abstract artists who have previously been ignored by art history (women, mostly—are you surprised?), such as painter Alice Trumbull Mason. Through curved, blanket-esque sculptures, video, and works that combine the two, she seeks to uncover and reckon with this artistic slice of the past.

(image via Michelle Repiso)

basic necessities
Opening Saturday, September 8 at The Clemente, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through October 6.

If you’re reading this, it’s very likely you have more than the bare minimum of what you need to survive on earth. For one, you have a computer, smartphone, or access to one. You probably have somewhere to live that you can leave and enter as you wish. When a person is incarcerated, most of these privileges (as well as many others one might take for granted) are no longer available to them. A new exhibition from Michelle Repiso, basic necessities, takes a look into “three individuals and their mechanisms for sustaining their humanity while incarcerated.” One crafts sentimental gifts and trinkets out of ordinary objects like soap and toilet paper, one harnesses the power of old-fashioned pen and paper to communicate with the outside world, and one finds connection through multiple avenues: the Bible, giving fitness lessons, and making food for others. Repiso has worked with young people at Rikers, so this is likely to be the type of show that treats its subject matter with nuance, not exploitation.