St. Louis Art Capsules

Jessica Baran encapsulates the St. Louis arts scene

Newly Reviewed
Anne Appleby These paintings and printed works make a close study of the memory of nature, distilled here in a luminous inventory of saturated natural hues. Appleby crafts her oil and wax pieces in a studio on a mountaintop in Montana, where previously observed landscapes — trees leafing out in the Catskills, for instance — are remembered by their colors only and painted in dense layers on wood or canvas. The artist's most recent work, which consists of a series of prints made locally at Wildwood Press, is born of a similar process: The colors of a sweet pea plant or a mulberry tree imbue squares of loosely hanging handmade paper. A sheet of maize appears subtly shot through with a deep red or green — revealed in the paper's thinner spots or at the frayed layers of its deckled edge, which expose bright underpainting and a second layer of printed paper. The effect is contemplative and precisely restrained and speaks to an essence that can only be generated by patient and rigorous toil. Through October 10 at Schmidt Contemporary Art, 615 North Grand Boulevard; 314-575-2648 or www.schmidtcontemporaryart.com. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.

Singing the Body Electric The title is borrowed from Walt Whitman's exuberant celebration of the body and health, but the show, comprising works by three area artists, is more conceptually akin to Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor or Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain. The works explore disease as an allegory for societal ills as well as for the process of art-making (which often takes place in its own version of quarantine). Lindsay Obermeyer renders pink and blue pathogens from shimmering sequins and beads that populate a gallery wall. Julia Wilkey stitches over steel trays, IV bags and other hospital artifacts with red thread. Julia Karll twists torn pieces of the daily news into long, thick strands, then bundles them in a massive knot. There is a sense in these pieces of time anxiously passing while monumental events — inside the body, out in the world — continue to transpire beyond our control. And yet the fact that these artists have created something out of this notion of impotence amounts to a form of productivity — curator Sarah Colby characterizes it as "minumental" — that celebrates merely being here. Through October 11 at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Boulevard; 314-863-5811 or www.art-stl.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Way Out of Line Distilling the art of drawing to its essence — the line — this group exhibition of work by Washington University MFA candidates presents a wide range of ways to make a mark without resorting to pencil-and-paper conventions. Mary Beth Hassan hangs two slightly mangled window screens side by side; their pairing, material modesty and mild derangement contribute a larger, if incidental depth to their simpler function as a linear grid. John Early's No Where Will These Two Lines Appear Further Apart Than at the Point You Stand Between Them consists of two parallel strips of black tape that bisect the gallery space and conclude in upright mirrors. Their path of infinite self-reflection speaks of larger, metaphysical concepts via a well-considered economy of means. A rhythmic thwacking noise permeates the gallery; its source, one discovers, is a mechanical mechanism that sends pieces of charcoal in a perpetual spiral, creating scuffs on a narrow constructed wall. The piece, by Andrew Cozzens, has great potential as a producer of the kind of incidental racket that, say, a neighbor's unlatched screen door makes, but it's overdesigned as a quirky drawing machine. The strongest works in the show are the simplest ones, the ones that betray the least whiff of formal, studio exercise and instead mine the peculiar nuances of the artist's personal realms, where lines are revealed as the material of everything intimately observable. Playfully curated by Mamie Korpela. Through October 25 at the Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Avenue (University Lofts Building); 314-621-8537. Hours: 1-6 p.m. Thu.-Sat.

We Are Here Reviewed in this issue.

Ongoing
Exposure 12: Implied Narratives: Paintings by Jamie Adams, Bill Kreplin and Kit Keith For this year's installment of the annual "Exposure" series, which typically highlights new and notable St. Louis-area artists, curator Terry Suhre selected three mid-career painters to display their current work. The resulting exhibition is a mature exploration of figuration and personal narratives, as channeled through familiar pop-cultural tropes. Jamie Adams merges Mannerism with French New Wave cinema in a series of complexly composed black-and-white paintings that fetishize Godard's coolly tragic Breathless star, Jean Seberg. Bill Kreplin reinvokes prototypical McCarthy-era suburbia embroiled in suggestively code-deviant scenarios in line drawings with sparing decorative patterns and brush-painted color. Kit Keith paints and repaints a round, dark-haired female face over maps, a page from a petty-cash log and other found antique ephemera in a way that suggests that even the subtlest side glances and twists of mouth are betraying. While each artist is making a project of playing with iconic sources and their respective freight of associations, the exhibit is refreshing for its skilled directness, appealing to our most fundamental ways of discerning meaning in one another: through stories, facial expressions, the movements of the body. Also showing: In a new gallery devoted to video art, the piece Phosphorescence, by Oakland-based artist Anthony Discenza, turns televisual images into lilting ambient abstractions. Through October 10 at Gallery 210, Telecommunity Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1 University Boulevard (at Natural Bridge Road); 314-516-5976 or www.umsl.edu/~gallery. Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Loading...