Inside Out

Shmigel evokes our gutted past without dewy-eyed nostalgia

The process allows for all kinds of delightful surprises, as in "Candescence," in which gold and watermelon-pink forms crash into one another over a sea of dark eggplant purple. Child's new work employs wonderful, bold colors, sometimes to shocking effect (see the lipstick red and turquoise of "Red Circuit"). At times, color provides the bridge between separate collage elements -- in "Green Dimension," droplets of green on one segment appear to have leaped over from an adjoining piece.

Child expresses an interest in textile arts and African and oceanic imagery; the influence is evident here in the unbridled use of color and the plastic treatment of the paintings. The works also call to mind the great paintings that came out of the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s, in particular Miriam Schapiro's joyous fabric and paint collages.

In a 1999 exhibit at Elliot Smith, Child showed wonderful large-scale paintings on canvas in lovely, thinned-out candy colors. Forms in those paintings were similar to microbes, amoebae and other amorphous beings. There's nothing thin or amorphous about these new works -- they seem to explode from their shadow-box frames. All nine of these paintings are juicy visual treats.

Christina Shmigel's "The Logic of Attachment" invites interaction in the form of exploration.
Christina Shmigel's "The Logic of Attachment" invites interaction in the form of exploration.

Details

Currents 87: Christina Shmigel-St. Louis Art Museum, through February 16.

Judy Child: New Work-Elliot Smith Contemporary Art, through January 12

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