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MOONFLOWER GALLERY AIMS FOR ITS OWN VISION

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When my wife picked me up from work the other day she said she thought there was a new gallery next to Brachman's.

"No way," I said. "I just got a bagel two days ago and I didn't see any gallery.""It's there. And it's got your kind of art."

I learned long ago not to question my wife's vision. It's perfect. Every fall I consider lending her to hunters for deer spotting. Anyway, I checked it out and sure enough, next to Brachman's is the Moonflower Gallery. Hanging in the front window is a small, expressionistic portrait that stares at you like a demented icon.

Moonflower opened its doors Dec. 14, 1993. Its owner, Mark Anthony Hatsis, opened the gallery as a vehicle for exhibiting his paintings. "The original impetus for Moonflower," Hatsis says, "was to do away with the middleman, in other words: the art dealer. Early on I made the discovery that in order to do away with the middleman I must become one."

Moonflower contains 5,000 sq. feet of usable space, consisting of five galleries and a workplace/studio for Hatsis. There are windows at each end of both floors, providing ample east-west light. The length of the building furnishes more than sufficient wall space for multiple exhibitions or large installations.

Hatsis talks about art in cryptic words and phrases like, "Nothingness breeds substance," or "There is no such thing as inspiration." Yet on the tail of these two maxims comes, "Aphorisms such as these are as intentionally misleading as religions." He wishes to do and undo simultaneously, create and destroy, organize and disorganize. "One thing that all my works have in common," he says, "is that they are contradictory in all of their elements - they are both musical and tone deaf, optimistic and pessimistic, colorless and colorful."

Hatsis doesn't like to put a name or title to his paintings. He uses an oil wash on board (prepared with a special ground), producing a matte finish. The graphite of his pencil shows through, allowing us to see the skeleton of the original sketch. His images are finished and unfinished; his muted palette delineates his unfinished figures so they float or hang like elongated riddles.

West of Hatsis' exhibit are prints by Edward Macner. An East Coast native, Macner does not work in any particular style and is comfortable with all mediums. The prints in the exhibit - woodblock and intaglio - are primitive and brutal; the figures and landscape are scarred and mottled by robust lines that divide the work into daring shapes.

Upstairs, an installation piece by Laurel Maybe spans the length of the gallery. Two triptychs (untitled) of old black-and-white halftone photographs, greatly enlarged and washed in umber, face off, separated by 10 or 12 feet. The halftone dot, when enlarged to such a degree, becomes an art element in itself: close up it's a pointilistic design, 10 feet away, a woman's face.

In the room behind Maybe's installation, Fatemeh Diabaiyan has created a wonderland of color using mixed medium (acrylic paint, crayons, pastels and pencil). Dubuffet-like with Fauvist colors, Diabaiyan's figures stare placidly forward with blue, yellow and red faces and green, brown and purple hair. The clothing on these figures and the background that surrounds them are just as loud, and it's hard for the eye to rest anywhere because it's having too much fun wandering around the canvas.

So, when you take your break this week, grab a bagel and stop in at the Moonflower Gallery.