St. Louis Art Capsules

Malcom Gay encapsulates the St. Louis arts scene

Opening

Exchange: Prints from Nagoya Japan A group exhibit featuring prints by Terou Isomi and Seiichiro Miida. Showcasing traditional printmaking methods as well as emerging techniques only recently made available through technological advances, this show is something of a primer on modern Japanese printmaking. Clearly rooted in a serene Japanese aesthetic, many of the prints are richly (if at times a bit frantically) layered, as though the serenity of an earlier age were being encroached upon by a harried modern world. March 21 (reception 6-8 p.m.) through April 18 at Webster University's Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, 8342 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves; 314-968-7171 (www.webster.edu/depts/finearts/art). Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. (open till 8 p.m. Tue.-Wed.) and by appointment. — Malcolm Gay

Obscure Postcards and Cary Horton: Structures and Cells Concentrating on cities such as Montreal, Bangkok and Chicago, hometown photographers Brett Beckemeyer and Alan Palmer shoot from a variety of vantage points as they focus their lenses on how cities are formed and how they disintegrate. Across the street at Snowflake/City Stock, photographer Cary Horton exhibits Structures and Cells, a series of images that explore the sometimes quaint, sometimes violent intersection of the natural world with urban life. By printing images via inkjet printer directly onto film negatives, Horton creates a layered effect in which plants and animals appear as ill-placed ghostly reminders of the natural world. Be sure to check out Mike Schuh's Who are you talking to?, a series of drawings created specifically for Snowflake's new Drive-By gallery, a window exhibition space at the southeast corner of Cherokee Street and Compton Avenue. Obscure Postcards runs through March 31 at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, 3151 Cherokee Street; 314-772-3628 (www.fortgondo.com). Hours: by appointment. Who are you talking to? runs through March 31, Structures and Cells through April 25 at Snowflake/City Stock, 3156 Cherokee Street (www .snowflakecitystock.com). Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. (MG)

John Sarra: Sad Smiles and Tears of Joy What elevates these traditional still life paintings isn't so much Sarra's fine sensitivity to form and light; it's the artist's sense of place. Sarra's subjects arise as unintentional compositions of tools, toys and other domestic objects that have coalesced and dispersed during the nearly ten years he has been renovating his St. Louis home. The paintings feature smaller spaces that temporarily exist in the space of his house. While the bulk of the show is devoted to still lifes, Sarra also is exhibiting an orienting painting: a landscape near his family's property. To accentuate the singularity of space, Sarra has also constructed a walkway to enter the minute Window Gallery, making viewers aware of the distance and height at which they are seeing the paintings. Through April 19 at PSTL Window Gallery at Pace Framing, 632 North Grand Boulevard; 314-531-4304 (www.paceframing .com). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (MG)

Urban Fossil: Cast Paper Artifacts by John Tuccillo Tuccillo takes the region's rust belt legacy as his jumping-off point. After taking urethane molds of the manhole covers, metal grates and crumbling concrete around his home in Peoria, Illinois, Tuccillo reconstitutes these urban relics in a thick paper pulp, which he then paints to resemble the original object. In the gallery's rear is Ensemble, a group show featuring ceramics, painting, photography and sculpture by artists Joe Chesla, Rebecca Eilering, Leslie Holt, Ken Konchel, David Lancaster, Metra Mitchell, Jeff Palmer, Stan Trampe, David Wallace, Rebecca Trawick and Lin Xu. Standouts include Mitchell's figurative paintings, which turn the brush on the artist in a series of psychologically revealing self-portraits, and Chesla's prints, which incorporate the process of oxidizing metals. March 22 (reception 7-10 p.m.) through May 3 at phd Gallery, 2300 Cherokee Street; 314-664-6644 (www.phdstl.com). Hours: noon-4 p.m. Thu.-Sun. (MG)

Ongoing

Deborah Aschheim: Reconsider In earlier projects Los Angeles-area sculptor Deborah Aschheim has explored the relationship between the cyborg and the surveillance state, most notably in her critically acclaimed multi-part installment Neural Architecture. More recently the artist has been exploring the nature of memory. Alzheimer's disease runs in Aschheim's family, and initially the artist embarked on her current project as a defense against forgetting. She submitted a list of her 25 favorite words to Bay Area musician Lisa Mezzacappa, who (along with other musicians) created songs for each word. Aschheim, in turn, created sculptures designed to play the songs. The idea: Our linguistic and auditory memories use separate neural pathways. By creating new sensory associations for these words, Aschheim might be able to protect them from the ravages of memory loss. The result is a series of boldly colored hanging sculptures — made of plastic tubing, LEDs, monitors and funnels — that resemble the circuitry of the human nervous system. Through May 11 at Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum Galleries, 12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209 (www.laumeiersculpturepark.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (MG)

Didi Dunphy: Playscape A sculpture exhibition that brings the playground into the gallery. An instructor at the University of Georgia, Dunphy calls her colorful creations — skateboards topped with colorful padding reminiscent of candy sticks, an orange seesaw, a set of bright tasseled swings — "friendly monuments." In inviting viewers to play with the work, and, in essence, become a part of the exhibit itself, Dunphy gives gallery-goers a shared and slightly goofy experience, stripping away the pomp and making the experience more accessible. Through April 20 at the Millstone Gallery at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 (www.cocastl.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (MG)

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