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Cliff Hengst’s new work at 2nd Floor Projects looks great and operates well in the intimate space. A powerful performer, at the opening reception Hengst engaged the audience in quietly singing “This Land is Your Land”, Woody Guthrie’s folk song.

Gouache paintings on newsprint, posters, and found paper reference a concern with the infamous CA Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Protest signs figure prominently in the work and their text highlights the passion, wit, and intelligence of the anti-Prop 8 protesters. With faces and bodies painted out in black in the artworks, the status of invisibility for same sex couples who would like to marry insisted upon by the pro-Prop 8 faction is made visible. Other pieces evince a concern with budget cuts and the safety net, mirroring growing dissent during a time of economic collapse. The exhibition runs through Sunday 21 February.

Through Sunday 21 February. Hours: 12noon - 5pm

- Cheryl Meeker [Wednesday, February 17th, 2010]

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