Mixing antique doll heads with abstract paintings, 19th-century parlor chairs, a video installation and some truly grotesque handbags fashioned from deceased animals, this inaugural exhibit at the Hinge gallery makes good on its title in high-gothic fashion. A Central West End apartment-gallery venture by Lauren Pressler (artist and recent Washington University MFA), Eileen G'Sell (poet and Wash. U. instructor) and Bryan Laughlin Jr. (antique furniture dealer and restoration specialist), the Hinge aims to blend its co-founders' respective expertises in shows that combine domestic design items with contemporary art. This iteration, guest-co-curated by Rick Ege of R. Ege Antiques, has an eye for the lurid. A maddeningly intricate, painted neon cityscape by Jieun Kim hangs near a large midcentury dinner table on which a massive wooden mushroom (an antique garden decoration) lies sprawled across white fur. A baroque curio case is rimmed by tiny sculpted heads with acorn hats, courtesy of local artist Cheri Hoffman; a small hallway alcove holds an old tintype and, below it, a contemporary tintype by Alexandra Opie; a wall-strung swath of white fur has two small sculpted porcelain creatures affixed to it like brooches on a bodiless wrap. Opening night featured macabre stop-motion animated video by Meghan Johnson, with live accompaniment by Barron K. Johnson. While the piece's frenetically chattering skeletons no longer fill the space, a live snake in a white-fur-lined terrarium hoisted above a vintage butcher block writhes with suggestive intimations. It's a small world of strange correspondences, made artfully vivid in this setting. Through December 2 at the Hinge (www.thehingestl.com); 314-535-3010. Hours: by appointment only.
Correction published 11/7/12: In the original version of this review, the tintype by Alexandra Opie was credited to the wrong artist. The above version reflects the corrected text.
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