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Review: '70s vibe at Hoffman LaChance

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 17, 2008 - Three Hundred Six is the number of miles that separate the domiciles of Stacie Johnson and Michael Behle, St. Louis and Chicago artists respectively who have curated the thusly titled show at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in Maplewood. The show brings together artists from these two metropolises and they have both more and less in common than you would think.

There's a distinct '70s vibe pulsing throughout the show. It pops up in Liz Nielson's (Chicago) "Glitter Galaxie," which pairs a disco abstraction with a real pink feather boa; Loo Bain's (Chicago) brilliant cross-stitch and knitted pieces; Mindy Rose Schwartz's (Chicago) macrame "Dreaming"; and the fake wood paneling that makes an appearance in Heather Corley's (St. Louis) "You+me 4 Now" and William Staples' (Chicago) smart little construction, "View of Studio from Kitchen."

But beyond that, the artists all seem to follow their own instincts, and that's a good thing.

Real standouts in this show are Catherine Magel's (St. Louis) ethereal painting, "Scuba Bunny Sonata," and her collection of cast clay birds forming a cloud pattern on the floor; a completely hoosier video and sound work by the most excellent duo Nosey Parker (Robert Goetz and Brett Williams -- St. Louis, naturally); Corley's "kiss me I hate you," in all its foil-paper-craft glory; and Elizabeth Ferry's "here we go again...", an exuberant installation of paint, paper, and ribbons.

This is one of those shows where the iffy conceit steps aside and lets some nice art shine through. Well worth a visit.

Ivy Cooper is an artist and professor of art history at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Ivy Cooper
Ivy Cooper is the Beacon visual arts reviewer and a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

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