Featured Review: In the Manner of Smoke

View of Jerstin Crosby's In the Manner of Smoke installation at Good Citizen Gallery.
View of Jerstin Crosby's In the Manner of Smoke installation at Good Citizen Gallery.

Featured Review: In the Manner of Smoke Tiny ceramic cashews, granola and raisins; a community bulletin billboard filled with flyers; a plug-in Zen water garden; canvas shoulder bag; piles of emptied Morningstar and WestSoy products — all the signs betray that a leftist/vegetarian/animal-rights activist was here in this wonderfully strange installation by Pittsburgh artist Jerstin Crosby. Coop/Co-op, a gritty, ad-hoc studio of sorts that dominates the gallery, houses these clever items that aptly slip between meticulous handicraft and punk irreverence; the "brick" walls of the space are a screen-printed texture, while a photograph pinned to the wall portrays the artist, covered in the brick print and squatting in front of a (real) brick façade. Then, of course, there's the video montage of a goth restaging of Seinfeld, in which the action revolves not around Upper West Side neuroses but rather the (perhaps equally absurd) hair-splitting of what comprises the truly politically correct. For all of the direct allusions, this is a highly atmospheric exhibit, which is what makes it so trenchantly intelligent: The humor is never mudslinging, the critique not prescriptive. This is the work of a sympathizer, recognizing, with wry affection, the oddity and illogic of beliefs. The artist's billboard sign, above the gallery, sums it up: "You Cannot Control What Is Wild." Through March 20 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or www.goodcitizenstl.com. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.

 
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