This exhibit of recent relief prints by St. Louis-based artist Roxanne Phillips catalogs the peripheral architecture of the urban landscape. Phone lines, water towers, roadside signage, highway overpasses — all assume a lush geometry through layers of thickly printed color fields. Phillips' palette recalls that of the Mid-Century Modernists — off-blues, cherry reds and golden yellows of the kind that once glorified the vernacular splendor of Route 66. That era is still alive in Phillips' gaze and imagery, captured in small, gemlike images that relish, say, the long connective lines of telephones cables and skyward-reaching billboard posts. Small-town carnivals also appear: at dusk and in silhouette, their decorative garlands of glittering lights puncturing the picture plane with tiny luminosity. Her method of printing lends a tactile quality to each piece; each color is palpably overlapped, often revealing the story of accrued layers. In the end it's a distinctly regional vision, one that, collectively, feels like a portrait of the everyday in our midst: St. Louis as a historic palimpsest of roadside culture and urban sprawl, long since overlooked by the rest of the country but still dreaming the more lyrical (and less cynical) dream of progress. Through March 28 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Boulevard; 314-977-2666 or
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