Visual Art | St. Louis Public Radio

Visual Art

Review: Ackling's work is suprisingly moving

Dec 20, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2011 - British artist Roger Ackling belongs to a generation of artists, including Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, whose works quietly engage nature and alert us to its subtle yet powerful forms. But Ackling's singular technique distinguishes him from those contemporaries: The artist finds small pieces of wood, and burns fine striations into them using only a magnifying glass and the sun's rays.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 16, 2010 - "Infrastructure" at Good Citizen Gallery features four new works by Arny Nadler, associate professor of art at Washington University, that continue the artist's use of basic building materials -- here, concrete and rebar -- as expressive sculptural media.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 8, 2010 - It takes some imagination to see a terraced garden in an empty side lot where all that's left is a stone foundation. Or a historic museum and gallery space in a dilapidated jail. Or a spacious, comfortable home and studios in a battered old house in a rundown neighborhood that has seen sunnier days.

But if there's one thing that Joachim Knill and Janice Ho have in abundance, it's imagination. That -- and the practical skills to turn that vision into reality.

Schmidt's show at PSTL is deeply personal

Dec 3, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 3, 2010 - As gallery owner Jim Schmidt was organizing an exhibit of his needlepoint works for PSTL Gallery, he realized there was a bigger story asking to be told. And so the exhibition turned into "Remembering Teddy," a remarkable commemoration in art, photographs, music and memorabilia of Schmidt's four-decade friendship with Carla Rand Trova.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 10, 2010 - Now at Gallery 210, "Rosalyn Schwartz: A Survey of Paintings" is a lovely review of works made between 1992 and 2010 that engage themes of beauty and illusion, art and decoration.

The child of an interior decorator, Schwartz was exposed early on to decorative objects and arrangements, and she now combines them on canvases that juxtapose clean modern lines with flowery arabesques of Rococo-style designs. Her painted strokes blur the specific forms, allowing their nuance and ethereal beauty to surface gently.

Review: Disabilities do not hinder art

Nov 8, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Lous Beacon, Nov. 8, 2010 - "Blindness Isn't Black" at the Gallery of the Regional Arts Commission features artworks by nine professional artists who have disabilities, and it's enthralling.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov 5, 2010 - In the 1930s and '40s Joe Jones was ascendant, a celebrity in St. Louis, a good-looking guy with a big smile and bright blue eyes, sure enough of himself to paint a self-portrait so thoroughly in the style of Cezanne his face looked as if it were Mont Sainte-Victoire itself. Jones was sought after, written about, photographed, gossiped about and enthusiastically appreciated as a gifted painter and quite good company.

Review: 'Maturity' strengthens muse

Nov 4, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 4, 2010 - I'm prone to believing that artists are able to defy the process of aging.

To me, it seems that once they've achieved a level of technical achievement and confidence in expression, they become timeless in a way, impervious to the effects of the passing years, suspended blissfully in their artistic stride. This belief no doubt stems from the will to deny my own aging and pending mortality; but it also blinds me to the profound benefits of years of lived history and accumulated experience.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 1, 2010 - "Scratch & Sniff," the new works by Mississippi-based Katherine Rhodes Fields at Good Citizen Gallery, appear at first to be witty one-liners: prints of centerfold nudes surrounded by luscious, suggestive foods, with giant "scratch & sniff" circles strategically placed on their naughty parts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 29, 2010 - "Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other," now at the Kemper Art Museum, is a terrific mid-career survey of the artist's work organized by the New Museum, New York, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Review: Matt Wilt pushes ceramic boundaries

Oct 25, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 25, 2010 - Matt Wilt belongs to a new breed of ceramics artists who draw on the history and traditions of the ceramic medium while simultaneously pushing its boundaries into wider sculptural and conceptual territory.

The works in "Trials and Errors," Wilt's exhibition at Craft Alliance in Delmar Loop, reveal the artist's thorough knowledge of traditional vessel forms, wood firing techniques, lustrous porcelain finishes and rougher stoneware textures.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2010 - "Westward Expansion" at Philip Slein Gallery is the kind of hip, street-smart show we've come to expect from Slein's gallery. Yet many of the works are beautiful, contemplative and expressive, making them undeniably appealing to both casual viewers and collectors of contemporary art. The show was curated by Justin Giarla, a San Francisco gallery owner with keen insight into the edgy aesthetics of contemporary California practice.

Review: CAMSTL shows are spare and rich

Sep 16, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 16, 2010 - The two shows on view at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, "Richard Artschwager: Hair" and "Elad Lassry: Sum of Limited Views," bring together artists from different generations working in very different media, yet who explore overlapping themes.

Those at all familiar with Artschwager's work probably know him best for his early sculpture: formica-covered boxes decorated with bright colors and straddling the lines between functional design, Minimalist sculpture and Pop Art.

Review: Johnson's work demands attention

Sep 13, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2010 - Kelley Johnson's show, "Recent Paintings," at Bruno David Gallery, offers a dizzying looking into spaces, both deep and shallow, punctuated by gnarled abstract structures that teeter on the brink of collapse. Johnson's forceful, confident handling of the paint demands your full attention, and rewards you with a serious case of vertigo.

The 10 canvases in this show come in two sizes, medium and large; but within those dimensional confines Johnson produces an astonishing array of formal effects.

Review: UMSL offers minimal exposure

Aug 30, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 30, 2010 - The three works in Exposure 13 at UMSL's Gallery 210 are decidedly minimal in style and scale, though not in content. This is a good thing, give that they are exhibited in Gallery B, the smaller of the spaces at 210.

Review: 'Screwed Again' at RAC

Aug 25, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 25, 2010 - For "Screwed Again," a reprise of sorts of 2008's "Screwed In" at the Gallery of the Regional Arts Commission, nine local artists spent days painting a mural that occupies three walls of the enormous main gallery.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 22, 2010 - Preparing for its major fall season opener, the Rivane Neuenschwander survey, the Kemper Art Museum is playing out the summer with “Gesture, Scrape, Combine, Calculate: Postwar Abstraction from the Permanent Collection.” 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 18, 2010 - For "Form in Translation: Sculptors Making Prints and Drawings," assistant curator Eric Lutz of the St. Louis Art Museum (along with research assistant Ann-Maree Walker) has again brought together works that show the strengths of the museum's permanent collection while giving insight into a vital mode of artmaking that deserves more exposure.

'RBMBKESHKM': Good show, offputting name

Aug 16, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 16, 2010 - Recently, Bruce Burton left his post as graphic designer for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to join a St. Louis design firm. As a parting gesture of sorts, he's curated an exhibition of outstanding contemporary graphic design for the museum's Front Room.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 9, 2010 - The St. Louis Art Museum's pairing of "The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy" and "Bill Viola: Visitation" makes for a fascinating exhibition, an opportunity to reflect on historical and contemporary concepts of life, death, mourning and transfiguration. But it also reveals a central truth about art: that context and modes of presentation largely determine our response to, and even the meaning of, artworks.

Review: 'Traces of Time' has quite a presence

Jul 30, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 30, 2010 - "Traces of Time and Presence" features the work of this year's artists-in-residence at Craft Alliance in Grand Center: Erin Vigneau Dimick in fibers, Tom Dykas in clay and Michael Parrett in metals. It's a quiet show, with works in different media that hang well together, forging subtle thematic and formal connections.

Review: Spehn shows new direction at Sheldon

Jul 16, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 16, 2010 - For a number of years, St. Louis artist Erik Spehn has been producing beautiful, delicate abstractions using masking tape to lie down and remove strips of paint.

Recently, the artist began using the paint-covered, discarded strips of masking tape to make new works that he calls "Tape Drawings," and several are currently on view in the Sheldon's Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Gallery.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 13, 2010 - I met Ernest Trova in the mid-1960s when he was at the zenith of his career. He had scored a place in a solid New York City gallery, having caught the attention of Ivan Karp who spread the word. He had a fantastic wife, the glamorous and aristocratic Carla Rand -- called Teddy. She was an artist herself, a Cornellian sort, who treasured big ideas compressed in small images. She did the dirty, disheartening business of schlepping pictures of Trova's work from gallery to gallery in New York until, finally, someone bit. The rest was art and social history, and as we look back on it revolved around the singular image of the Falling Man.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 11, 2010 - “Stylus,” Ann Hamilton’s project at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, seems to ask just one thing: that the visitor approach it with an open mind and without the expectations one brings when viewing conventional artworks.

For “Stylus” is unlike any are you’re likely to have seen before. It’s not a work, per se; it’s not an installation, exactly. It’s not even finished in the traditional sense.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 7, 2010 - To appreciate Ann Hamilton, it's important to know that after decades of creating textile art, sculptures and visually stimulating installations, she still is reluctant to take part in an exercise that's as familiar to visual artists as the wine-and-cheese opening reception.

Writing those ubiquitous blurbs that explain the meaning of an artist's work is a chore for Hamilton. She prefers to let the viewing public decide that on its own.

Sheldon reveals more of Wallace Herndon Smith

Jul 6, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 6, 2010 - The Sheldon Art Galleries regularly features themed exhibitions of paintings by Wallace Herndon Smith, the venerable St. Louis artist who died in 1990, to expose wider audiences to its sizable collection of Smith’s accomplished work.

The current exhibit in the Sheldon’s Bellwether Gallery includes several intimate paintings of figures, mainly in interiors, and they reveal what Smith did best: balance realism and close observation with a degree of modernist abstraction inherited from his European artistic forebears.

Review: Soo Sunny Park brings variety, ambiguity

Jun 21, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 21, 2010 - Back in 2003, Soo Sunny Park was the first artist selected for Laumeier Sculpture Park's Kranzberg Exhibition Series. For that exhibition, the artist, filled the galleries with strange plastic structures that were futuristic and medieval at once. Park's works were architectonic, engulfing and disorienting the viewers, and one naturally expected her to continue working in the direction of installations.

Review: Anschultz's paintings do double duty

Jun 15, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 15, 2010 - One defining feature of traditional works of art is a lack of function: Most paintings and sculptures don't do anything other than exist as art and receive our gaze.

It's necessary to keep this in mind to understand the profound radicalism of the works in Brandon Anschultz's "Stick Around for Joy," the latest in the Kranzberg Exhibition Series at Laumeier Sculpture Park.

Review: Color and light grace Philip Slein

Jun 10, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 10, 2010 - With Helene Slavin's "You are Here" and a selection of flower paintings by Jerry Wilkerson, the Philip Slein Gallery is awash in color and light this month. 

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Slavin has 12 large canvases splashed with luminous acrylic paint, creating veils of color punctuated by clusters of paint drops. The drops bleed and spread in minute capillaries, connecting with one another and creating intricate networks across the surface of the canvas.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 8, 2010 - Christopher Burch's "The Sleep of Reason" at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary represents new areas of exploration for the St. Louis-born artist.

While he's well known for his grotesque drawings and cartoon-style characters, "The Sleep of Reason" is more of an environment or installation. Burch has covered the gallery walls with flocked black wallpaper and hung three black-painted decorative serving trays.

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