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Leilani Bustamante: Haunt 

When: Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 18 2015

Madness and Murder on the Walls

Leilani Bustamante brings fiction alive — or somewhat undead—in "Haunt," an exhibit of paintings loosely based on The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (no, not the Preppy Murderer). Chambers sprinkles tantalizing snippets of an imaginary play by the same name throughout his collection of short stories, originally published in 1895. Those who dare read the play are driven to madness and murder. In Bustamante's illustrative paintings, overlaid with the book's "Yellow Sign," images splinter as though in a fractured mirror to reveal both the perceived and the "real." In Hildred Castaigne, inspired by the story The Repairer of Reputations, a brass headpiece in a biscuit box becomes a "splendid diadem" housed in a massive safe, sparkling with diamonds and bestowing sovereignty over all mankind. Surely a treasure worth killing for. In The Yellow Sign, beneath the filter of that mark, a pallid mask is stripped away to reveal rotting flesh beneath. Bustamante's work is as irresistible and haunting as the cursed play itself.

"Haunt" starts with a reception at 6 p.m. and continues through April 18 at Modern Eden Gallery, 801 Greenwich St., S.F. Free; 956-3303 or moderneden.com.

— Michael Singman-Aste

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