In the Galleries: Peat Street and EYEZ at Hoffman Lachance Contemporary, closes January 7

Peat Street and EYEZ This full assault of a solo show consists of a bifurcated installation by St. Louis artist Peat Wollaeger. One half takes the form of a blasted urban tableau straight out of Escape from New York (or, perhaps, Beckett's Endgame), meticulously '80s in vintage and copiously populated: a phone booth, a shopping cart, high-top sneakers, entire telephone poles, fuse boxes, street signs, a fire hydrant, bricks, beer cans, loading dock doors, tires, a bicycle, parking meters, park benches and on and on. Winking from what seems like every paintable surface in this dystopian cityscape are the artist's signature stencil tags — his red, yellow and black "Eyez." In this fashion Wollaeger has imbued his ersatz environment with a watchful, ever-vigilant gaze — and, even more provocatively, bright windows into a potential soul. Looming over the scene are stenciled portraits of Wollaeger's two heroes — Bob Cassilly and Steve Jobs — both recently departed yet still radiating the flame of ingenuity, invention and the limitless pursuit of dreams. The exhibit's other half presents itself as a traditional gallery (you literally exit the streetscape to enter it), in which Wollaeger's paintings on found objects are carefully arranged on white walls. In form and content, the exhibit expresses the breadth of the artist's range: He can inhabit the white cube or the blacktop grid, but he clearly prefers the latter. Through January 7, 2012, at Hoffman Lachance Contemporary, 2713 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-960-5322 or www.hoffmanlachancefineart.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wed.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat and by appointment.

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