The cut-out pages and covers of old books comprise the dominant material thread in this exhibit of new work by St. Louis-based artist Jon Cournoyer. A large print of a swirling night sky framed by dark trees — an image extracted from an anonymous vintage source — is the exhibit's centerpiece and casts a hypnotic spell over the surrounding work. Drawing you into a nighttime realm of fantasy and memory, the collaged, multimedia pieces bear the unmistakable patina of an indeterminate past, incorporating old game pieces, large-scale overlaid prints of wandering children and swatches of brand labels from a bygone era. A suite of three square-format works are almost entirely composed of book covers, each of a different solid hue (red, green, yellow); their clothbound surfaces covered in thin layer of wax, they're both abstract and narrative, revealing glimpses of titles (Gulliver's Travels
, The Story of Electricity
) but holding any deeper meaning just out of reach, as in a dream. Other more painterly works echo the rectangular shapes of book covers but are placed on top of white-painted feed-sack substrates whose central compositions include everything from faucet handles to plastic dice to small, cut-out etchings of geometric forms. All in all an entrancing collection, luring you into a treasure-chest world of childlike wonder and retrospective wisdom, where the most seemingly meaningless talismans — gilt edges, rusted cans, torn-out maps — acquire significance over a lifetime. Through November 25 at Hoffman Lachance Contemporary, 2713 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-960-5322 or www.hoffmanlachancefineart.com
. Hours: noon-3 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.