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Thursday, February 4, 2016

3 Intriguing Art Shows Opening in St. Louis This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge "Hawks and Doves," by Hollywood Indian, now at Hoffman LaChance.
  • "Hawks and Doves," by Hollywood Indian, now at Hoffman LaChance.

Big game? What big game? Why not use your weekend a bit more wisely and, instead of being anesthetized with a barrage of commercials, peruse some real art at one of the shows opening in St. Louis this weekend?

If you're looking for even more art, many of last week's openings are also still on display. Forget the NFL and go look at something interesting.

Hollywood Indian: Cowboys and Indians
Hoffman LaChance Contemporary
2713 Sutton Boulevard |
Opens at 6 p.m. Fri., Feb. 5. Continues through Feb. 27.

Is the classic struggle of man versus nature really nature versus nature? That question lurks behind Aaron Wood’s work, which is created under the name Hollywood Indian and is featured beginning this weekend at Maplewood’s Hoffman LaChance gallery. While humanity at one point was just another animal, our relationship with the planet is far more destructive than most other species. Wood’s moody collages of graphite and acrylic paint on reclaimed doors reveal stray television sets, liquor stores and the occasional human form, with a single animal dominating the composition. Natural habitats disappear as the urban environment spreads like a deadly fungus, but still the animal perseveres. And yet the title hints at two groups of people that have almost disappeared under the rampant spread of civilization. How much longer can the animals hold out?

Jill Downen: As If You Are Here
Bruno David Gallery
3721 Washington Boulevard |
Opens 6 p.m. Fri., Feb. 5. Continues through Mar. 12.

Jill Downen goes small in a big way for her fourth solo exhibition at Midtown’s Bruno David Gallery. She’s constructed a series of miniature rooms made of plaster, concrete and glass for the main gallery. To see the interiors the viewer must peer through small windows, making the act of discovery an act of voyeurism as well. Each room has its own lighting and design scheme — some are bare-bones industrial, some are refined hideaways — but all are empty until the viewer looks inside, completing the transition from exterior watcher to interior inhabitant.

Krista Valdez: Skin
The Dark Room
615 North Grand Boulevard |
Opens at 6 p.m. Fri., Feb. 5. Continues through Mar. 31.

The idea of the personal figures prominently in photographer Krista Valdez’s new series. Social media induces people to broadcast their lives to strangers, well past the point of over-sharing — is there an unphotographed lunch in this city? But how much of what is being shared is the genuine person, and how much is the image that person wishes to project to the world? Valdez strikes at the heart of the matter by photographing her nude body. Is her body her only trait, to paraphrase the Fugazi song, or is it the truest expression of who Krista Valdez believes Krista Valdez is? By controlling both her physical form and how it is shared visually, Valdez confronts the sexualization of women and her own thoughts about body image and one’s sense of self. 

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