Rupert Goldsworthy Gallery, through Jan 9.
The artists in this show share a fascination for David Bowie, but the better works here get past simple adoration to examine Bowie's cultural impact on a deeper level. Appropriately—given that the pop icon has repeatedly reinvented himself over the course of his career—the best pieces utilize some sort of transparent material.
Tad Beck's Ziggy Halo consists of a photo of a barechested Bowie printed on clear vinyl; the image is enlarged almost beyond recognition. On the wall behind it, Beck has limned a star in faint, fluorescent paint—a nice metaphor for Bowie's elusive glam persona. In Rob Pruitt's I Love My Chameleon, a live chameleon inhabits a glass vitrine filled with kitschy, rainbow-colored lights. As I approached the piece, David (as the chameleon is called) shot me a wilting, slit-eyed glance that perfectly conveyed the discomfort of living in a fishbowl.
About a third of the works are either too starstruck (some amateurish ink portraits, for instance) or too reliant on an obvious irony to merit much consideration; still, the show as a whole is thoughtfully installed. Near the ceiling, Helen Sadler has hung a tiny painting of an eerily beatific audience at a Bowie concert; you miss it unless you tilt your head up like an adoring fan. And on the floor, the gallery has painted a huge lightning bolt in red glitter—a faithful replica of Bowie's makeup on the cover of Aladdin Sane. Sadly, that glamorous bolt is destined for ruin as gallerygoers walk all over it. But that's the point of "Bowie": Even as you trash the image, you end up spreading the glitter around.—Sarah Schmerler