Iain Fraser: Places of Mind Fraser's steel sculptures invoke the improbable architecture and the daring, imperative projects of Russian Constructivism. Ranging in height from less than two feet to more than five, the structures are poetic proclamations about past or potential cityscapes, with cantilevered branches, suspended rooms and contingent support systems. Fraser, a professor of architecture at Washington University, has clearly put a considerable amount of thought into the works and their content, as evidenced by the powerful quotes from Gaston Bachelard and Italo Calvino that accompany the pieces. The sculptures don't always rise to the level of the literature quoted, but this is truly food for thought. Through May 7 at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900. Gallery hours noon-8 p.m. Tue. and Thu., noon-5 p.m. Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.
Junko Chodos: The Breath of Consciousness This California-based artist enjoys her first Midwest showing with this exhibition, curated by museum director Terrence Dempsey. It's a beautiful survey of three decades of work engaging heady questions of spirituality and the intersection between living beings and machines. Junko, who grew up in Japan during World War II, has plenty of visual and visceral experiences from which to draw inspiration for her wildly expressive prints, paintings and drawings. The "Concerning Art and Religion" series (2003) plots photographs of engines amid a roiling chaos of inky waves and drips -- it's nigh apocalyptic, and quite effective in the context of the museum's ecclesiastical design. "Compact Universe" features smaller versions of earlier abstract paintings and collages enclosed in CD jewel cases -- the ultimate in portable art. Most intriguing of all are the elegiac paintings in the "Requiem for an Executed Bird" series, and the collection of collages that layer minuscule cutout images into dense, frenzied fields. Through July 31 at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Fusz Hall, Saint Louis University, 3700 West Pine Boulevard; 314-977-7170. Gallery hours 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun.
Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place Laumeier Sculpture Park is the ideal venue for this exhibition of work by eleven artists who explore the sometimes tenuous relationships between the constructed and the natural, the inside and the outside. The exhibition, curated by Carla M. Hanzal in conjunction with Laumeier for the International Arts & Artists, brings together works by some of the finest sculptors and installation artists working today, including Kendall Buster and Dennis Oppenheim, Donald Lipski, Roxy Paine, Ming Fay, James Surls, Michele Brody and Wendy Ross. Many of these artists have imported extraordinary, earthy stuff right into the galleries, while others have installed constructions in and among Laumeier's rolling terrain. Of the gallery works, Ursula von Rydingsvard's massive cedar Hej-Duk (2003) creates a dense, dignified presence, while Valeska Soares' 2002 steel Fainting Couch emits the sickly sweet scent of the lilies that are tucked into its frame. Outside, John Ruppert's absurdly scaled Aluminum Pumpkins (2004) enliven the landscape. Through May 15 at Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209. Gallery hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
Luanne RimelLocal artist Rimel is one to watch. This collection brings together photography and textile art in order to examine processes of memory, change and time. On layered panels of silk, Rimel prints photos, mainly of beaches and swirling eddies of water, and backs them with silks dyed with gorgeous watery colors. Interspersed among these layers are embroidered texts, incantations that double back and repeat themselves like waves. The loose hanging panels likewise float out and settle back to the wall on air currents, evoking tissues of memory, intermingling but separate. Only rarely do concepts and media coalesce so neatly and so completely. Through May 7 at R. Duane Reed Gallery, 7513 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-2333. Gallery hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat.
David Scheu: Forest Park 12.30.04Left Bank Books delivers another small, lovely basement show: twelve digital photographic prints by David Scheu, evidently illustrating a single day in the life of Forest Park in winter. In particular, Scheu focuses on water and captures an amazing array of light effects and reflections that produce visual ambiguities and gorgeous illusions. In several images the water becomes a steely gray ground, against which reeds and stems rise up and fall back, meeting their own reflections in a stunning mirror effect. In some the water's surface is simultaneously reflective and refractive, allowing for views of the sky above and the rocks below; in others, the water may as well be oil, casting an unctuous gloss onto everything it touches. Through May 15 at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731. Store hours 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
James Siena: Ten Years of PrintmakingBest known for his paintings and drawings, New York artist Siena has produced a fine body of delicate prints dating back to 1995's Recovery, an engraving he made while laid up with an injury. His printed work grows out of his continuing interest in patterns, networks and algorithms. The works in this show feature threadlike lines that seem to defy gravity and their own fragility, to build complexly structured patterns. The three stone lithographs are fairly robust, but Siena's fine linear etchings and engravings are more satisfying, particularly the pieces in the color series "Nine Prints" (2000-01). Two works, both titled Upside Down Devil Variation, are astonishing studies in linear form. Through May 14 at William Shearburn Gallery, 4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-367-8020. Gallery hours 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat.