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Neon lights aren’t usually associated with highfalutin’ notions of art or metaphysics. They’re usually the domain of Vegas and Times Square tackiness, synonymous with seedy titty bars, bottom-shelf booze, and blinking advertisements for failing brands. So for Meryl Pataky to use neon as the medium for an exploration of Plato’s principles in her new show, “Metaphysics” -- well, that’s kind of a leap. Pataky’s work directly engages the Greek philosopher’s fundamental metaphysical question: What does it mean to be? It’s the sort of conundrum usually considered over stale bongwater and Cheetos nowadays, but it remains a fundamental question of life that neither science, art, religion, nor Monty Python have been able to convincingly answer. Thus unraveling the human condition is an ever-confounding problem for us all, one that Pataky examines in her mixed-media meditations on narrative, experience, and being. She approaches these ideas in oblique ways -- works such as “Playground Love” are as elusive as the memory senses they provoke -- and favors subtlety over portent or self-importance. As heady as it all sounds, there’s a sense of humor and play in Pataky’s work that lightens up the proceedings, with sly nods to pop culture and the work of Kurt Vonnegut. Which is pretty much the only credible way to wrestle with heady philosophical inquiries in our time.

The opening reception for “Metaphysics” starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 11.
Nov. 11-Jan. 1, 2010

 
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