Michael Kareken: Parts

Starts Friday: Peering into the exposed innards of junked cars, Minneapolis painter Michael Kareken found a metaphor for the careless excess and destructive undercurrents of contemporary life. The stripped and rusting cars are incongruous subjects for Kareken’s huge paintings and delicate drawings, but they work thanks to his mesmerizing talent for reproducing mechanical details — belts, pulleys, wires, rusted valves and tubes — and imbuing them with abstract beauty. Stained with drips, streaks and water marks, the tangled automotive guts are abstract designs in light and shadow, void and form. Having painted heaps of recycled paper and mounds of broken bottles and glass, Kareken knows how to memorialize these skeletal vehicles bleaching in their automotive graveyards. The paintings are gorgeous records of the appalling waste at the core of modern society. They’re only car parts, of course, but the worn and naked innards seem shockingly human when etherized upon Kareken’s canvases and drawing board. The two-part show is divided between Burnet Gallery (paintings) and the Groveland Annex (drawings). (Ends Nov. 29, free. Burnet Gallery, 901 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-767-6824, www.burnetgallery.com. Groveland Annex, 25 Groveland Terrace, Mpls., 612-377-7800, www.grovelandgallery.com.)

Mary Abbe