St. Louis Art Capsules

Jessica Baran encapsulates the St. Louis art scene

Newly Reviewed
Portion Control Close-up photographs of elemental food items comprise this first solo exhibit by local artist Tiffany Sutton. A tablespoon-size slice of butter from a stick; a peeled half of an orange; a pile of almonds; the viscous contents of a cracked egg — each appears dramatically enlarged in otherwise black space, taking on disproportionate meaning owing to their scale while simultaneously evoking a sense of portraiture. Accompanying the spare series is a food journal in which the artist has recorded her daily consumption for the month prior to the exhibit. Noted alongside the details of her food intake and exercise regimen are short reflections on the success or failure of her attempts at dietary control. Spirits wither and deflate in daily tides, not always corresponding with caloric deviation. While addressing an issue that's nearly become a national sport — weight loss and its many aliases — the exhibit imbues it with new life via its sheer restraint, suggesting that aesthetics suffer as much from the sin of gluttony as anything else. Through May 7 at PSTL Gallery at Pace Framing, 3842 Washington Boulevard; 314-531-4304 or www.paceframing.com. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

Featured Review: Wandering Thomas Titled after Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, this exhibit by Chicago-based artist Jose Ferreira explores doubt and other liminal states of being. Composed of several suites of work in different mediums — from contact photographs to ink-on-paper drawings to silkscreen prints — each portion of the exhibit explores a variation on the theme of unknowing, using the body as a measure for experiencing place and emotion. In Locating, black-and white-photographs of the artist's vacant bed, recorded first thing every morning, create a journal of previous nights. In Complex, blots of black ink soak into white paper, leaving amorphous shapes, which in turn are annotated with handwritten suppositions about the artist's mind. A series of almost entirely gray photographs trace the route of the artist's daily commute in fog, the high-rises and narrow corridors between barely taking shape beneath the humidity. While the parts appear disparate and widely varied, a spirit of nonverbal sense-making pervades the exhibit — as if what we see are pieces of evidence that, when assembled, would communicate something deeply felt. Through May 28 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or www.goodcitizenstl.com. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.

Ongoing
Currents 105: Ian Monroe Washington University alum Ian Monroe returns as this year's Freund Fellow, exhibiting a new body of work inspired by Minoru Yamasaki's original 1956 design for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Using sheets of aluminum, upon which pristinely cut pieces of colored vinyl are applied, these austere, painterly collages depict a nearly obsolete culture of flight populated by immaculate fountains, phone banks, lounges and business-attired travelers. Scenes of the architect and his design team at work, pens in hand and sleeves rolled up, appear as abstract reductions of original archival photographs. Monroe's slick renditions heighten the original utopian ambitions for the terminal. While perhaps it's difficult to recall amid an era of groping security checks and dim anxiety, traveling by air was once a crowning progressive achievement. Monroe's works are rife with nostalgia for this older era's Modernist faith in technology, his attentive craftsmanship and bold, midcentury palette drawing out the timelessness of its design. The exhibit — which includes a large-scale sculptural installation — exudes a material presence that complements the stuff of the airport accoutrements depicted, aligning itself in tactile spirit with this pre-digital culture of architecture and design. Through July 31 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive (in Forest Park); 314-721-0072 or www.slam.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.)

Larry Fink, Little Brown Jug, 1997, gelatin silver print.
Larry Fink
Larry Fink, Little Brown Jug, 1997, gelatin silver print.

Dreamscapes This exhibit subtly trains the viewer to navigate the Pulitzer's inimitable space as though it were an exquisite dream recalled. De Chirico's Transformed Dream sets the stage: a train in the painting's high horizon line directing one to unforeseeable locales. Nearby sits a piece by Janet Cardiff: a black rotary phone you pick up to hear the voice of the artist relaying her dreams. A golden, recumbent Brancusi head rests on a plinth, while at the gallery's far end, Magritte's Invisible World hints at a watery vista beyond its French doors and the imposing gray stone that blocks them. Here is where you reach the hinge in this surreal sonnet: Arriving at the Pulitzer's water court, you see Magritte's stone in solid form: Scott Burton's Rock Settee, which overlooks the narrow, placid reflecting pool and a swath of city beyond. Only now do you pause to consider the multitude of portentous cues inhabiting the masterworks curator Francesca Herndon-Consagra has assembled, transforming the museum into a dreamlike tableau vivant. Highlights include Do Ho Suh's diaphanous fabric staircase to nowhere, two late, dark paintings by Philip Guston, an early suite of Max Klinger's Glove etchings and the nebulous Wolfgang Tillmans forestscape that marks the dream's end. (A series of programs exploring the exhibition's theme will unfold through the spring and summer, on Saturdays at 1 p.m.) Through August 13 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.

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