In the Galleries: Contemporary Anthropomorphism at Webster University

Contemporary Anthropomorphism Drawing a correlation between ancient cultural practices (think: mound building) and current human assaults on the environment, curator B.j. Vogt brings together a group of artists who are exploring the man-vs.-nature exchange. A small bird, haloed in a brightly constellated universe, triumphs over a fox in a diptych painted by 2010 RFT MasterMind Cameron Fuller. Plastic flowers, handcrafted to unnatural perfection, blossom from the gallery wall like an expanse of cell-phone antennas in Eric Troffkin's installation. David Johnson photographs hotel and domestic interiors with a dark whimsy: a still-life of a bouquet of roses with a cordless phone in its cradle; a long exposure of a fully decked-out Christmas tree affixed to a rotating platform and whirling improbably in a family living room. Jamie Kreher contributes a series of videos that treat urban settings as wilderness and vice versa: nature walks through the acreage that once housed Pruitt-Igoe, for instance, or the serene hum of a boiler room recorded as if it were a remote and rarely seen environmental marvel. Carin Mincemoyer creates miniature landscapes inside discarded packaging — the tiny trees and minute meandering rivers hovering like daydreamed pastoral idylls encased in clear plastic, at once compulsively alluring and unreachable. Karen McCoy veritably throws herself into her work, inking her body and then rolling and writhing on large swaths of paper, leaving behind imprints she titles after famed natural landmarks. The shared sentiment here is a winking curiosity directed at our manhandled world, and an acknowledgement of our enduring urge to engage with nature, albeit with plastic tinsel and cotton-ball snow. Through November 26 at Webster University's Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, 8342 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves; 314-968-7171 or www.webster.edu/depts/finearts/art. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. (open till 8 p.m. Tue.-Wed.) and by appointment.

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