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All-Embracing Theme 

Anyone expecting to get a Latin American repast will have to be satisfied with a dessert mint in the disappointing survey show Infusion at Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery.

Comprehensive to a fault, the show encompasses, according to the press release, "Artists born in Latin American countries who have moved to the U.S. as well as U.S.-based artists who are heavily influenced artistically by Latin American culture and/or have biological Latin American roots."

Whoa. How about people who once backpacked through Peru? To paraphrase Margaret Cho, "Where's our exhibition?"

A survey of contemporary Latin American artists would be daunting enough, but the loosey-goosey parameters of Infusion test the limits of one's thematic patience.

The show begins nicely enough with Terry S. Hardy's clothesline installation inside and outside the gallery. Hardy's work heralds a leitmotif of juicy color that provides some of the exhibition's limited continuity. Hardy has assembled quotes by Ana Mendieta, Diego Rivera, Isabel Allende and others on life, sex and art, which gives a far more concise read on a no-nonsense, philosophical native temperament than the show as a whole.

Inside, Peruvian Christina Russillo's intriguing black-and-white images of dark, moody alleyways are reminiscent of the 19th-century New York photography of Jacob Riis.

The best work, in the gallery's bowels, is saved for last. Jimena Jarava's Vik Muniz-esque portraits made from dirt and sand of former Colombians now living in the U.S. suggest the inescapability of one's regional origins.

Saskia Jorda offers distinctively creepy abstract renditions in colored pencil of hairy, visceral ... butterfly genitalia. Some of the most memorable works are Alejandra Villasmil's carnal, sci-fi landscapes populated by tiny sex workers clipped from adult ads. The work has a definite subversive tang in invoking the sex industry's use of exotic "others," but also suggests a regional approach to desire in its emphasis on da booty.


Through June 11. Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 8. Wed., Fri., Sat. noon-5 p.m. 404-522-0655.

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