Current Shows

Robert Duffy encapsulates the St. Louis art scene

Leila Daw: Reconstructed Archaeologies Daw has spent many years creating maps of a world that at first blush seems not entirely dissimilar to the "real" one. But more often and more engagingly, her cartography traces the artist's own sensibilities and seeks to answer the question: "Where are we, anyway?" Her progress over the years has been fascinating, and sometimes flamboyant, such as the time she used skywriting to make a sky map of a Native American site on terra firma. These recent archaeologies, topographies and geographies are part of an established Daw tradition, which is original, quirky and engaging. A group of mixed-media fuzzy-fantasy landscapes are another matter entirely, reminiscent of the illustrations found in Hobbit books — of which I am frankly sick. Through October 15 at Atrium Gallery, 4729 McPherson Avenue; 314-367-1076 ( Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., noon-4 p.m. Sun.

Michael Eastman: America Series Michael Eastman has employed technical virtuosity time and again to impress his keen sensibilities as images on paper. With the exception of an equine detour I never quite got in the saddle of, his eye and intelligence have been trained toward buildings and built environments. Although few human beings physically appear in these images, they're palpably present. Look, for example, at Eastman's photograph of a New Orleans library, an accommodation of a diverse accumulation of books and pictures and Mardi Gras regalia and other shards of an existence's mirror. This and similarly affecting images reveal Eastman's ability to evoke the sad and silent eloquence of rooms and buildings, and to observe them not simply as material and space but also as resounding symbol. Through October 21 at R. Duane Reed Gallery, 7513 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-2333 ( Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat.

The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Justice and the Environment — 1965-2005 Posters blur the boundaries between advertising and art. They've long performed effectively in getting consumers to buy this necktie or that automobile, or in getting theatergoers into this seat or that one. They encourage you to take public transportation or to take your kids to the circus. Posters are everywhere, or seem to be, anyway. "Post No Bills" was meant for them. As important as they are in keeping commercial activity humming, posters have also proved invaluable to politicians and to anyone advocating for one cause or another, or against something regarded as heinous. These posters in this powerful show are guaranteed to give any committed conservative a rip-snorting case of fantods, but for those who navigate the political middle and the left end of the continuum, they are vehicles of wisdom and truth, expressed in powerful graphics and economical use of words. Examples go back to the heyday of Another Mother for Peace and that movement 's ubiquitous "War is not safe...." poster. Sharing the same space is the haunting silhouette of the tormented, humiliated prisoner in the black hood at Abu Ghraib. There's enough visual gunpowder enough in this show to blow the roof off 1627 Washington. Its energy is expressed in a beautifully designed exhibit, hung by Tom Bussmann, art preparator-extraordinaire and co-owner of the Philip Slein Gallery. (On Friday, October 13, the curator of the show, Elizabeth Resnick, will talk about this work from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery. She is associate professor of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and chair of communication design there.) Through October 21 at the Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Avenue; 314-621-8735. Hours: 1-4 p.m. Wed.-Sat.

Jerald Ieans: New Paintings Nothing could be finer than to have Jim Schmidt open his handsome new gallery in Grand Center with a brilliant exhibition of the work of his protégé, the talented St. Louis painter Jerald Ieans. For years, Schmidt has soldiered on valiantly as a dealer and an evangelist of modernism, encouraging young talent such as Ieans and showing work that perches perilously on the point of the advance guard's javelin. Now, one hopes, he is getting what he has long deserved: a bright new gallery, properly outfitted, with spaces designed to accommodate large works of art as well as intimately scaled paintings and sculptures. Schmidt gives Grand Center's leadership full credit for its support of his establishment, and indeed, the all-over-the-place street party Vince Schoemehl and his colleagues tossed last Friday was not only fun but also had the effect of restoring faith in the Grand scheme of things. But let's not lose our focus. Ieans — since the first show of his work at Schmidt's gallery on Washington almost fourteen years ago — has gone from strength to strength as a painter, and this new, fleshly group of paintings spells further advancement. Arpian shapes ebb and flow, advance and recede, in this radiant world, flexing and relaxing, meandering insouciantly, while some muscle vigorously against the pictures' frames. Dealer and artist commit acts of aesthetic heroism on Grand Boulevard. The evolving arts district and the region are better for their being there. Through November 4 at Schmidt Contemporary Art, 615 North Grand Boulevard; 314-575-2648. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.

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