Austral Gallery

A series of nature studies — "Banksia and Parts," "Bamboo Shoots," "Shell-Back," "From Land and Sea" and "Shell-Open" — are made as if through the eyes of an 18th-century naturalist, wondrous forms represented as if newly seen.

Brunstrom has devoted one room of her gallery to her remarkable collection of contemporary aboriginal art. Darby Tjampitjinpa Ross' "Emu Dreaming" is a controlled explosion of color and design. Pink, blue, green and gold dots are painted to make lines and circles within circles. The painting can be read as a close examination of the ground — with emu tracks crossing — or a vision of the land from high above, with blocks of color representing patches of field. Or it can be left to an ecstatic vision from the dream time — a joyously patterned abstraction. Ada Bird Petyarre's "Alchira-Children's Story" consists of earthen colors — browns and golds — in the pattern of a wheel with radiant spokes. Petyarre has composed the picture with a pleasing asymmetry, so it looks oddly like folds of fabric rather than canvas surface. Jane Bird's "Untitled" contrasts the earth tones of the work nearby. White dots are painted in an arrangement that creates a diaphanous spirit form, pale and ghostly blue. A faint pattern, like a lovely beaded gown, traces its presence.

There are more artists in this large show, including most notably Ian Friend, whose series of black-and-white etchings, "From the Republic of Conscience," with its graceful curves and gestures, stands out, and Karen Papacek, whose continued exploration of planting iconographic symbols within a square frame remains emotionally charged. Brunstrom's artists have asked her to continue to represent them, so after the gallery is gone this work will still make its way into St. Louis' artistic environment. These images from the land down under will impress themselves still, to disturb and to inspire, for which the community owes Brunstrom many thanks.

Jrg Schmeisser, "Banksia and Parts," etching, 120 by 120 mm, 1995

The Austral Gallery remains open by appointment through July; call 776-0300 for information.

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