The triple don’t-miss threat

“Monster,” by Jennifer Lugris, oil on canvas, 2015.

“Monster,” by Jennifer Lugris, oil on canvas, 2015.

Where: Axis Gallery, 625 S Street;
Second Saturday reception: December 12, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hours: Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.; and by appointment. Through December 27.

Axis Gallery

If you absolutely can only visit one gallery this month in between the numerous winter solstice celebrations and Festivus pole parties, or whatever it is you have lined up, do not miss Axis Gallery's 2015 Invitational Exhibition with Heather Engen, Jennifer Lugris and Deborah Salomon. All three artists are California-based, and all three have very different styles, but all make work that will please the eyes, challenge the intellect and drum up emotion: Yeah, the triple threat.

For example, take Lugris. Her undergrad education in sociology informs her paintings of death row inmates. In her series Forgiven, she paints a portrait of a child with the last words of an executed inmate. The juxtaposition was chosen because everyone starts out with innocence as children. In her portraits, the child often looks a little distorted in the shape of his or her face and has an uneven, unhealthy complexion not associated with youth. They look like pages torn out of a children's book gone wrong. These paintings, along with her other series, were inspired by restorative justice, which she explains as “an alternative approach in which criminals apologize to those they've harmed and seek forgiveness.”

See her work along with Engen and Salomon's at Axis through December 27.