St. Louis Art Capsules

Jessica Baran encapsulates the St Louis arts scene

Ideal (Dis-) Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer This exhibition of canonical canvases of slain martyrs, pious virgins and other grand dilemmas borrowed from two encyclopedic museums and replaced in naturally lit contemporary galleries is a reaffirmation of the human scale. The minimalism of Tadao Ando's building design is diffused by ornate, gilt-framed compositions that date from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, the two historical extremes meeting precisely at the fragile effects of daylight on the predominantly figural pieces. Contemplative and reverent, the show fulfills its premise so well that it seems capable of providing a discretely intimate experience for each and every viewer. Through October 3 at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 3716 Washington Boulevard; 314-754-1850 or www.pulitzerarts.org. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Kit Keith: Present to Past Discarded mattresses, leather-bound books and LP cases, canning jars, a toy steak carved out of wood — this small survey of paintings, drawings and small sculptural objects by St. Louis-based Kit Keith has the instant-treasure-trove character of a yard sale. An attraction to the intimately hand-worn or sullied is clearly evident throughout, as is the clean finesse of an expert sign-painter's graphic depiction. Thus a cool-eyed, sleek-haired Betty Grable type is deemed "effective"; a young, wary-looking African American in cap and gown merits "good"; a pale and leering Mrs. Danvers-esque mistress is decidedly "ice." The all-too-human cartoon portraits, rendered on mattresses and jars alike, form a kind of illustrated guide to life fates. Ultimately the intricate pieces seem to recoil from the sterility of a white-walled gallery, preferring, it would seem, to be viewed in a bedroom space, wherein a pint-size resident leads you through, one by one, her strange collected treasures. Through August 2 at the Millstone Gallery at the Center of Creative Arts, 524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 or www.cocastl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Later rather than sooner This small survey of obsessive narratives — salient memories, compulsive actions — written in repetitive, immemorial objects appear, here, in orderly disorder. Collected to-do lists are torn then reformed precisely into anti-anxiety pills, glass bottles of breath collected from people of personal significance are scattered like a broken-into pharmaceutical cabinet, poignant letters written to loved ones are thinly shredded and crumpled into small trophy cases without having been read by their intended recipients. The Jacksonville, Illinois, artist Khara Koffel is doing as much to methodically reveal herself as diagnose something more elusive — with the pills, bottles and letters acting precisely as the things they are at the same moment that their accretive masses add up to singular abstractions. Through July 11 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or www.goodcitizenstl.com. Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Fri., Sat. and by appointment.

Relics of a Glorious Past: Imperial Russian Artifacts from the Collection of Dr. James F. Cooper This assemblage of orthodox icons and the daily stuff of royalty forms a two-part essay on lost cultural splendor and the bygone transcendent art object. Framed in gilt halos, pounded metal and semiprecious stones, the small tempera-on-wood devotional paintings exemplify an anonymous milieu in which studied replication was prized over innovation, and communion with the immaterial was the subject matter of choice. Similarly, the gold-rimmed teaspoons, military regalia and assorted decorative pieces from the show's secular portion involve such an engaged level of tactile detail that they could be considered devotionally crafted. The exhibit as a whole serves as a useful reference point for contemporary art's renewed interest in gold, which seems to signify a nostalgia for creative acts deemed sacred and authentic. Through December 20 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Boulevard; 314-977-2666 or sluma.slu.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye Curator Joseph R. Wolin suggests that artists' youthful obsessions outweigh adult, book-learned influences in this group show of paintings (and one sculpture). The youthful obsession, in this case, is Star Wars; the artists participating are men of an age that permitted George Lucas' vision to be their shared adolescent daydream. Wolin presents the exhibit as a kind of essay wherein each piece is proposed as evidence of an aesthetic contest between intergalactic spectacle and wild, expressionistic abstraction à la Jackson Pollock. Strangely, the influence that prevails is neither of the suggested two, but rather the big, brash 80s-era painting of the Julian Schnabel variety — heavy on tube-pure primaries, large glossy strokes, brute masculinity, and light on conceptual nuance and material delicacy. The one exception is Emilio Perez's a different time of day, a mass of black-lined, pale-hued undulating ribbons painted with flat, matte uniformity; it looks like a comic-book graphic of abstraction and, as such, is the most elegant distillation of Wolin's thesis. Also showing: paintings by St. Louis-based Brandon Anschultz, whose negotiation of science and abstraction is crisply controlled and modestly cerebral — a near-antidote to the main gallery show. Through July 18 at Philip Slein Gallery, 1319 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634 or www.philipsleingallery.com. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. or by appointment.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Loading...