Current Shows

Week of April 28, 2004

Currents 91: Francis Cape, "Forest Park"Sadly, viewers seem to have a tough time warming up to this piece. Cape has designed three boldly colored, freestanding wall pieces in one of the Saint Louis Art Museum's upstairs galleries. Titled "Forest Park," the pieces together unite and divide the room, describing their own perfectly square floor plan while echoing the museum's subtle architectural detailing. They inscribe a space-within-a-space, and do us the extra favor of inviting us behind their pristinely painted surfaces to check out the normally hidden details of construction. Given that the museum itself was constructed as part of the 1904 World's Fair, it's engaging to watch another artist reinterpret the construction process within its walls. Through June 13 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, 314-721-0072. Museum hours Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.)

Double Exposure Fourteen internationally known contemporary artists have produced photographic diptychs for this splendid exhibition, which shows off William Shearburn's new gallery extremely well. Candida Höfer and Vanessa Beecroft treat architecture and the human body, respectively, with brilliant deadpan, while Thomas Demand's photos elevate stacks of paper cards to a quiet monumentality. Photos by Alfredo Jaar and Nan Goldin capture the vulnerability of very different human subjects. The works are all printed in a consistent, modest scale, creating a rhythmic pattern at eye level along the gallery's main wall -- a dry tone that's perfectly pitched to these fairly conceptual works. Also included are works by Malerie Marder, Uta Barth, Barbara Probst, Catherine Yass, Bill Jacobson, James Welling, Axel Hütte and Olafur Eliasson. Through May 15 at William Shearburn Gallery, 4735 McPherson, 314-367-8020. Gallery hours Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

El Ojo Fino/The Exquisite Eye: Nine Women PhotographersAn extensive exhibit of works by three generations of Mexican artists. While the arrangement is fairly dry, the work is marvelous, subtly indicating the transmission of techniques and themes among natives and immigrants working in Mexico. These women depict street scenes, heavily symbolic staged arrangements and politically charged situations. Among the standouts are Yolanda Andrade's surrealist street tableaux; less interesting are Flor Garduno's stagings, which are somewhat strained. Also included in the exhibition are Alicia Ahumada Salaíz, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Maya Goded, Kati Horna, Graciela Iturbide, Angeles Torrejón and Mariana Yampolsky. Through June 19 at the Sheldon Gallery of Photography, 3663 Lindell, 314-977-3399. Gallery hours Tue. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wed. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

John Dilg: Recent Paintings This collection of paintings by Iowa artist Dilg is terrific -- funny, enigmatic, emblematic and smart all at once. The color palette on these small canvases is limited to dusty blues, heather greens and grays, depicting stylized trees, waterfalls and a couple of abstract "landscapes" so oddly minimal they defy easy description. Blue Grizzly features an animal form in a simplified forest at twilight; The Big Picture is nothing more than a few lines indicating water, with a triangular shark fin planted in the center -- it's hilarious, but hard to say why. Elvis has an abstraction of the King's hair in an empty landscape, his face a rectangular void. These works are rare little treasures. Through May 21 at Schmidt Contemporary Art, 4740 McPherson, 314-575-2648. Gallery hours Wed.-Sat. 1-6 p.m.

Rito, Espejo y Ojo (Ritual, Mirror and Eye)The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art has gathered photography by three important Latin-American artists -- Luis González Palma (from Guatemala), María Magdalena Campos-Pons (born in Cuba) and Pablo Soria (born in Argentina) -- whose work observes intersections of religion, mythology and cultural identity. The range of technical approaches is broad, from large scale Polaroids to sepia-toned gelatin silver prints to the use of collage and transparencies. Much of the work is arranged in multiple parts, evocative of altarpieces. Palma's works possess the richness of mestizo cultural artifacts, while Campos-Pons' lusciously colored staged images make a convincing argument for the superiority of the Polaroid among film media. Through May 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Saint Louis University, John E. Connelly Mall, 314-977-7170. Gallery hours Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sara Good: If Anything's a Garden... Good's exhibition features "gardens" constructed of found objects that have one foot in nature and one in artifice. Bricks define garden edges, but they also crumble back into raw, red earth; metal "trees" support flower pots as they simultaneously undergo natural processes of rust and decay. All the garden tools are strangely sculptural, while a charming grove of flowers is fashioned out of the most abject materials. Everything here is in transition, suggesting that our control in the garden is illusory; nature is somehow always in charge. Through May 22 at Gallery 210, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge, 314-516-5952. Gallery hours Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Women Only The first in a series of exhibitions featuring contemporary art in St. Louis, and chivalry evidently is not dead: Ladies first. These 34 works by 33 artists comprise a predictably varied mix of painting, sculpture and photography. Among the best: Joan Hall's Red Sky at Night..., a wall piece of rich red pigment on cast paper; Amy Morose's Yellow Infinity, a beautiful ink-jet print on canvas; paintings by Deborah Douglas and Nicole Northway; and sculptures by Lindsey Stouffer, Amber Slater and Becky Luce. Lots of these artists enjoy high profiles in St. Louis and beyond, and it's great to see them showing side-by-side with the slightly lesser-known women artists in town. Through May 22 at Elliot Smith Contemporary Art, 4729 McPherson, 314-361-4800. Call for gallery hours.

 
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