St. Louis Art Capsules

Malcolm Gay encapsulates the local art scene.

Resilience: The Sculpture of Philip Hitchcock and Revelation The Saint Louis University Museum of Art exhibits two local artists with wildly different takes on Biblical themes. Using a technique to cast gypsum, Philip Hitchcock has assembled a series of highly detailed (and highly idealized) nude figures, here recast in homoerotic Biblical roles — a strapping nude Jesus embracing the cross, a semi-recumbent Adam receiving the breath of life. The figures, remarkable in both their detail and frank sensuality, are often concentrated on one portion of the anatomy — the front of a muscled male torso, the front of a pregnant woman's torso — that ends abruptly, leaving the viewer to wonder if what's unseen hides an imperfection. Upstairs, Revelation is a collection of painstakingly rendered pen-and-ink drawings executed over a 30-year period by illustrator Russell Kraus, illustrating scenes from the hallucinogenic Book of Revelation. The drawings, highly mannered and quite beautiful, often blend long-limbed, graceful angels with a psychedelic background. Resilience runs through February 15, Revelation through March 30 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Boulevard; 314-977-2666 (www.slu.edu/x16374.xml). Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun. (MG)

Signs of Time Art Saint Louis offers more than 140 works by 86 area artists. Juried by artist Kim Mosley and open to almost any medium (sorry, no Web-based artwork), Signs of Time required artists to submit works that explore the passage of time. Approach, technique and quality vary wildly; standouts include Robert Treece's Glass Still Life, a disorienting self-portrait clearly inspired by M.C. Escher's reflecting-sphere lithographs; and The Maplewood Dust Collector: Dismantled 2007, an urban landscape by oil painter Steve Turner. Through February 28 at Art St. Louis, 9917 Locust Street, Suite 300; 314-241-4810 (www.artstlouis.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. (MG)

Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings In this show at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Strode, who grew up surfing and skating in southern California, takes the pop-cultural iconography of comics — the obese, hooded executioner, the jug-sipping moonshiner — and juxtaposes it against a multicolored and ambiguous field that could be a seascape, or maybe it's a valley; then again, it could just as easily the graffito-ed wall. It's this sort of deliberate ambiguity that lies at the heart of Strode's dynamic mash-ups. Filled with dripping paint and spray-painted designs, these mixed-media paintings defy a unified interpretation. Instead, they pull together a mish-mash of non sequitur imagery and allow the viewer full imaginative range for the composition. Also at the Kemper: On the Margins, an engaging series of mixed-media work that concentrates on the role of art in a world defined by military conflict. Through April 21 at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Forsyth & Skinker boulevards (on the campus of Washington University); 314-935-4523 (www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu). Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (closed Tue., open till 8 p.m. Fri.). (MG)

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