St. Louis Art Capsules

Jessica Baran encapsulates the St. Louis art scene

Rick Egea; galvanized steel bucket riddled with rusty nails.
Rick Egea; galvanized steel bucket riddled with rusty nails.

Uncommon Objects/Personal Views: The Collections of Rick Ege and John Foster Canvas carnival "punks"; a galvanized steel bucket riddled with rusty nails; a massive cross crafted in sharp-faceted bits of scrap metal; a miniature steam boat scrupulously assembled from old linoleum tiles, painted wood pieces and swaths of window screen: This exhibit of folk art and anonymously crafted or found oddities is a study in looking closely at the world, with an eye for incidental splendor. The two local collectors featured — Rick Ege, a noted antiques dealer, and John Foster, a graphic designer at TOKY — have together amassed a peculiar museum of regional wonders, from geodes that resemble intricately weathered marble busts to assorted hands, roughly wrought in steel or elegantly detached from turn-of-the-century haberdasher's models. A painting of Hell's layered firmaments by Howard Finster and a stacked assemblage of yellowed napkins detailing plane crashes by savant George Widener, among other pieces of notable American outsider art, suggest alliances between meticulous, if unwitting, aesthetic brilliance and what might otherwise be overlooked as bizarre detritus. But detritus this is not: The objects here are not merely uncommon. Their wondrous beauty equals or exceeds that of more deliberate, schooled and cerebrated "art." A rare gem of an exhibition, beseeching you to behave like the artists exhibited: lean in, get lost in details and overlook nothing. Through January 8, 2011, at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.sheldonconcerthall.org. Hours: noon-8 p.m. Tue., noon-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat

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