When you admire a painting or print, do you consider the paper used to be an integral element of the work? Artists do because how the paper interacts with the media will shape the finished work. The Embedded Image: Current Work in Hand, the new exhibit at the Craft Alliance (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-1177 or www.craftalliance.org), requires that viewers contemplate the paper as an inseparable element of the art, as all of the artists in the show work with handmade paper. Tom Lang, the curator for this exhibit, sought out work that "unites image and object"; John Risseeuw's La Explosion (pictured) beautifully embraces this aesthetic. The gently scalloped paper is made of shredded currency, burlap coffee sacks and the clothing of Nicaraguan farm laborer Agustín Matey Ramos. An account of Ramos' being injured by a land mine while working a new plot of land is printed in the upper corner of the piece, just above images of coffee plants, land mines and a stylized explosion. Risseeuw's piece is almost alchemical in nature, transforming the very elements of a farmer's life and near-death experience into a physical object that invokes the lingering dangers of Central America's foreign-backed wars and the physical toll agriculture takes in developing nations. The Embedded Image opens with a free public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 11; the show remains up through Sunday, February 24, but the gallery is closed on Monday.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 11. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008