New York artist Ian Davis' first Kansas City exhibition, Faith in the Future, at Kemper at the Crossroads (33 West 19th Street, 816-753-5784), is a vibrant, sometimes haunting exhibition, of wide-angle scenes in which the artist painstakingly creates large crowds of tiny little men. Sometimes in business suits, sometimes in lab coats, they're generally gathered around focal points such as machinery, exhibitions or staged events of indeterminate purpose. The environments in many of these large-scale scenes — high-ceilinged museums, airstrips, auditoriums — communicate an oppressive or daunting sense of authority that dwarfs the tiny figures populating them. Davis has endowed even the tiniest of the little men with faces and postures. Taken together, they make a borderline-cute statement about herd behavior, and the paintings sometimes approach the narrative suggestions of illustration. Barbara O'Brien, curator of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, leads a discussion and tour of Faith in the Future from 1 to 2 p.m. The exhibit runs through June 19.
Fridays, 12-8 p.m.; Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: Feb. 26. Continues through June 19, 2010