Visual Art | St. Louis Public Radio

Visual Art

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 1, 2011 - "Take 4" at PSTL Gallery is a tidy show of work by four of St. Louis' best artists.

Greg Edmondson's untitled construction of pencil, tape and vellum looks like a blueprint sprung to life. The smudgy fingerprints and haphazard taping tell the tale of the work's making; it's an interesting hybrid of drawing, sculpture, and design.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 31, 2011 - Bruno David Gallery rounds out its season with a fine collection of art and artists.

In the Project Room and Front Room, recent sculptures by Charles P. Reay are an absolute delight. The Front Room houses a reconstruction of Reay's studio, affording a glimpse into his working methods, influences, and a few finished works, all of which reflect the artist's playful curiosity and scintillating imagination. Shades of Charles and Ray Eames abound.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 25, 2011 - When you first see Charles "Chip" Reay's dead-mouse-hanging-on-a-limb sculpture, you probably won't get that it's his take on Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory."

But after you hear the back story, the reference becomes clear.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 23, 2011 - "Absences and Obsessions" at Craft Alliance in Grand Center is the MFA thesis exhibition of Kristin Fleischmann, a degree recipient this year from Washington University.

It's a beautifully done show, a selection of sculptural and painted works that explore material metaphors of the body. Central in the exhibition is "A Silkworm of One's Own," curtains of delicate strings, some knotted and others clotted with concrete.

Review: High quality variety at White Flag

May 19, 2011

This article first appeared in a St. Louis Beacon, May 19, 2011 - "Impossible Vacation" at White Flag Projects claims to reduce the curatorial role, to free the exhibit from any overriding theme, gimmicky organizational device, or jargon-laden interpretations, and let the works of eight artists speak for themselves.

That sounds all fine and good, but given the fact that contemporary curatorial artspeak is so inscrutable that many of us choose to ignore it anyway, it's not clear how much difference it makes if it's jettisoned altogether.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 16, 2011 - "Ruptures" at Hoffman Lachance Contemporary explores a variety of contemporary engagements with painted abstraction, with delightful and intriguing results. Curated by Normal, Ill.-based Michael Wille, the show features the work of 11 painters who have varying relationships to mid-century modernist painting tenets.

Review: Wander over to Good Citizen

May 12, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2011 - I think there are people who go through the world confidently, knowing who they are and what they are doing and feeling stable in their relationship to the world and others. And then there are the rest of us, who are not so sure.

Jose Ferreira's "Wandering Thomas" is dedicated to the rest of us. Ferreira, a sculpture professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has put together a collection of works at Good Citizen Gallery that is all about the sort of basic existential doubt that many of us feel every day.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 9, 2011 - In "Poetry of Objects" at Duane Reed Gallery, Jane Birdsall-Lander has developed a body of elusive, elegant sculptures born of the correlations between bodies, built structures, and written symbols.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 6, 2011 - Those who know Dail Chambers understand that untangling the artist from the community activist would be like separating salt from seawater.

Like a superhero with a paintbrush and a sculptor's hands, Chambers, 28, strives to empower women, fight sexism and end racism. And unlike Superman, Chambers appears to have no power-draining kryptonite, the caped crusader's Achilles heel.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 5, 2011 - "Visual Musings: Prints by William Kentridge" and the "New Media Series: William Kentridge - Two Films" are a perfect introduction to the South African artist's works for the uninitiated, while followers of Kentridge's work will relish the chance to see his remarkable artistic processes and thematics on display in differing media.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 18, 2011 - When Minoru Yamasaki's Lambert air terminal opened in St. Louis in 1956, travelers and architects alike recognized it as a singular accomplishment, embodying in its weightless vaults and sleek detailing the very spirit of air travel -- the chic sense of belonging to the jet-set, the heady elan of taking to the sky, the future as experienced now.

Ian Monroe's Currents exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum is an equally impressive accomplishment, for it reformulates Yamasaki's bracing modernist design in a series of works that allow us to appreciate it anew.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 7, 2011 - You wouldn't think that an artist whose media include bubble gum, Styrofoam and spaghetti would have trouble finding materials. But just recently Tom Friedman found out that the only source for the exact-size sugar cubes he used in a 1999 self-portrait was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.

Luckily for Friedman, the New Orleans sugar factory reopened just in time to produce enough cubes for a recreated piece after the original had begun to melt.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 7, 2011 - For (F)utility Kitchen at Snowflake Gallery, artist Leslie Mutchler blends elements of sleek, high-end design and the strategies of fashionable DIY and urban farming movements to reflect on a curious historical precedent of all these things: Marie Antoinette's Hameau de la Reine, a functioning farm constructed expressly for her, where the queen could indulge her fantasy of leading a simpler life.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 6, 2011 - Jessica Stockholder's exhibit at Laumeier Sculpture Park, "Grab grassy this moment your I's," is a delectable visual treat. Ten indoor pieces and one outdoor installation feature what Stockholder does best: combine unexpected materials, brilliant color, and remarkable juxtapositions of objects in poetic propositions that take hold of the imagination and don't let go.

Review: 'Cahokia Byobu' digs deep

Mar 28, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 28, 2011 - At White Flag Projects, "Elements of Style" by Los Angeles-based Karthik Pandian is the third part of a trilogy of works that reflect generally on archeology and anthropology, and specifically on Cahokia Mounds.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 24, 2011 - For "Everybody's Autobiography" at the Center of Creative Arts' Millstone Gallery, curator Jessica Baran has paired works by Robert Gober and Kerry James Marshall, two of the most trenchantly observant artists working today.

'Jimma' celebrates Carter

Mar 23, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2011 - Isolation Room's new exhibit is "Jimma!" by Los Angeles-based artist Jay Lizo: a fabulous portrait of Jimmy Carter back in the '70s glam era, delivering a speech amid trippy colored light beams and a silver sky.

The work is from "A Song from My Hero Collection," a series of portraits of people Lizo admires, and it's nice to see Carter thus celebrated -- not for his latter-day diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, but for the workmanlike dedication with which he handled his single, unfairly maligned presidential term.

Review: 'Birds Fell' and people think

Mar 14, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 14, 2011 - The centerpiece of Cameron Fuller and Travis Russell's new show at Good Citizen Gallery is "El Dorado," a car fashioned out of woodgrain-printed cardboard, shocks made of plastic water bottles, and tin can headlights. El Dorado's not cruising any city of gold, but a simulation of a post-apocalyptic St. Louis -- which looks a lot like run-down parts of the city today, only here it's overgrown with a cardboard forest of Brancusi's "Endless Columns."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 9, 2011 -"Poems by Bobby Thiel" by St. Louis artists Gina Alvarez and Jana Harper, now on view at the Sheldon Art Galleries, is a lovely, totally disarming collection of mixed media works produced by the artists during a residency in Maryland.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 7, 2011 - Once it was old-school computer mice. Then it was toilet seats, football pads and a parasol. After that, keyboards. But now it's all about boys as young as 8 making white paper guns.

Communication, technology and remnants of the past drive the art of Sarah Frost, 43. In her artist's statement, Frost quotes German philosopher Walter Benjamin: "To live is to leave traces."

"Maybe the whole thing, on one level, is a meditation on mortality," Frost said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 7, 2011 - Oh, my. Looking at Tom Huck's "Brutal Truths" at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art is a bit like attending an all-you-can-eat snoot party held somewhere in the Ozarks in mid-July: crowded, intoxicating, nerve-wracking and shot through with a heady redolence of sex, sweat, meat and meth.

That Huck can capture that delirium, harness it to biting social commentary and do it in the difficult, unforgiving medium of woodcuts, is nothing short of miraculous.

Review: Test your perceptions at Los Caminos

Mar 3, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2011 - At Los Caminos, Brookhart Jonquil's "Physical Spectrum" is a group of four works, all 2011, that deal with reflections, transparency, the real and unreal, and our perception of objects in space.

The mirrored plexiglas letters ECNALUBMA are embedded in one wall, at roughly a driver's eye level -- it generates the momentary disorientation one experiences seeing "Ambulance" written in reverse on an oncoming emergency vehicle.

Review: 'Timemachines' is brilliant

Feb 17, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2011 - Ryan Thayer's "Timemachines" at PSTL Gallery is a brilliant meditation on time and the image. Thayer has produced eight photograms, or unique cameraless pictures made by placing objects directly onto light-sensitized paper. The objects depicted are image-makers themselves, but of the digital variety: a camera, an ipod, cell phones, a computer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2011 - Jamie Adams' For "Paris Dream'n" at the Philip Slein Gallery, local artist and Washington University professor Jamie Adams has gathered a sampling of drawings, paintings and studies from his "jeannie" series.

Adams has invented characters and settings that combine autobiographical details, art historical references, and -- most important -- inspiration from the American actress Jean Seberg and her role in Jean-Luc Godard's classic 1960 film "Breathless."

Review: Fun flies at White Flag

Feb 2, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 2, 2011 - For "Time Wounds All Heels," White Flag Projects delivers a host of good artist jokes -- some pithy, some raunchy, some maddeningly obscure, all entertaining.

John Baldessri's series of "Nose/Silhouettes" (2010) are irresistible, as is Erwin Wurm's "13 Pullis" (1991), a video in which "layering" is taken to absurd lengths. Robert Lazarinni's "Hammers" (2000) are actual tools rendered in perspective.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 1, 2011 - The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opens the year by exhibiting two of the most highly regarded artists working anywhere today. Brooklyn-based painter Richard Aldrich and Brussels-based filmmaker Manon de Boer approach their respective media critically, breaking them down to their constitutive parts before building them anew.

Review: 'Fireworks' sizzle in Isolation

Jan 31, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 31, 2011 - Isolation Room is presenting "Fireworks," a video by the British collaborators Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, a work perfectly suited for the venue's tight quarters.

Review: 'Breathe' lightly

Jan 26, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 26, 2011 - Maine-based artist Carrie Scanga's "Breathe" is one of the most successful installations in recent memory to grace Craft Alliance's Grand Center.

Using the slightest of materials -- translucent yellow tracing paper -- Scanga has built a hive-like vault that embraces viewers and transforms the gallery's light and atmosphere.

Review: Engaging with evil

Jan 24, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 24, 2011 - Webster University professor Robin Assner collaborates with Milwaukee-based artist Sarah Nitschke under the name Ro~Sa, and they make art that takes on nothing less than the nature of human experience.

They've examined such subjects as Desire, Wish, Luck and Control; now at Good Citizen Gallery, they've staged "Dismantling Evil," a meditation on the darker side of human drives. Assner and Nitschke focus on acts of torture, hatred and humiliation, but they come at the subjects laterally, so as to engage viewers intellectually rather than shock us into numbness.

Commentary: Seeing St. Louis in the work of Joe Jones

Dec 23, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 23, 2010 - If local history were a required subject at St. Louis area high schools, the name of artist Joe Jones would be as common as that of a beer baron or a shortstop. Since the subject is not required, the name has local resonance in strange inverse proportion to local significance. That is a shame because not only did the talented painter start his career here, but for many years in the middle years of the last century, Jones showed this city -- and the world -- images of a St. Louis with rich texture, sublime geometry, powerful architecture and simmering discontent.

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