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Super and Timely New exhibit explores ‘heroes’

The theme is superheroes. And the space at Highlandtown’s Y: Art Gallery and Fine Gifts is filled with them, caped and crowned, as real as Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who is represented in two works), and as mythological as a mermaid.

Then there is Mrs. Haussner — artist Laure Drogoul, who donned a white waitress dress and served up slices of strawberry pie at the opening reception for SUPERHEROES, an exhibit of more than 60 pieces from local artists.

For Drogoul, whose entry is “Mrs. Haussner’s Famous Ball of Knots,” a superhero can be found in Frances Haussner, the wife of William Haussner, who opened their beloved namesake restaurant at the neighborhood corner of Eastern Avenue and Clinton Street. Among its many offerings, the 20th-century restaurant was known for its strawberry pie, but also its art-adorned walls, a collection started by Mrs. Haussner.

Adding to the ball of twine

An “icon and hero of thrift,” she also kept snippets of string, rolling them into a ball of twine that eventually grew to be 825 pounds, says Drogoul, who invites exhibit goers to snip a piece of white twine and tie it to a ball at the gallery. In this way, she says, her entry in the show represents the work of “many, many hands.”

It was a favorite among the many people who packed the gallery for the opening reception on July 27. The staff was not surprised by the large turnout; they received a similar crowd at last year’s multi-artist “THE BRA SHOW,” which explored this particular clothing item and its purpose.

Elbow to elbow among the superheroes, the crowd, sipped wine, listened to storyteller Mama Linda Goss and contemplated David Page’s exhibit, “Don’t Need No Super Hero.” Like Drogoul’s work, there is an element of performance to this one — wrapped entirely in a quilted cream suit that looked like a cross between a blanket and protective hazmat gear, Page challenged the idea that we even need someone to save us.

A painting by Gregg Simonton

Other work includes “Spikey Super Hero,” the sculpture of a man with a laser eye and a crown of real horseshoe tails, created by Bill Yonkers, who carves wooden tables at a studio in Clipper Mill. He credits Y: Art for discovering him. His wife, oil painter Susan McCurdy Yonkers, also had work in the show — one of the RGB paintings.

Then there was “Mom” from Helene Haviland, a collaged picture of a woman with little wheelchair symbols on her cheeks.

“My son has Asperger’s, so I am always around special needs kids. The moms with kids in wheelchairs are real heroes,” she says.

Mothers, women and lots of modern-day personalities are a prominent feature in this exhibit. Overall, it’s colorful, current, often political and not to be missed this summer.

SUPERHEROES runs through Aug. 17 at Y: Art. yartgalleryandfinegifts.com

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