In this run-of-the-mill commercial group show, the bijou paintings by Asami Shoji are as playful as they are haunting. In one, Cerberus stands at the shore of the Styx dreaming that he, too, could one day be free from his fate but nobody throws him a ball. In another, a reclining nude anxiously waits to meet her fate with a lion but Saint Jerome is nowhere in sight. There’s a scene caught in the wings of the ballet stage that could be the start of a gang rape, a death dance, or a tender embrace. The figures appear as though in x-ray and helplessly foretell their own ends.
The acute sepias, yellows, and greens rendered on gesso and clay surfaces hide ghostly narratives. Following these stories between the works of five other artists makes them even more intriguing. In one panel, a boy reaches out as if to probe Christ’s wounds. On second glance, the allegory is even richer and more confusing. On third, the tale starts over again.