Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

In the Galleries - Com'on to My House at Atrium Gallery 

Christopher Tanner at Atrium Gallery -  Hand in the Pool of Maria Montez

Christopher Tanner at Atrium Gallery - Hand in the Pool of Maria Montez

Painted shells, bullet casings, geodes, driftwood, beaded appliqués, leather flowers, bronze pennies, cast-off broaches — all things reflective, glittering and near-tawdry make it into this exuberantly excessive mix. Cue the title track — Rosemary Clooney's rollicking, nigh demonic 1950s torch song/long-time drag standard "Come on-a My House" — and this solo show by New York-based artist, performer and playwright Christopher Tanner gleefully tears off and tramples the dull uniform of restraint and prods you to do the same. Composed of wall-hanging assemblages whose encrusted surfaces summon to mind blinged-out coral reefs, the pieces suggest a world beyond their discrete dimensions. The mandala-shaped Master of the Universe (2010) bulges with ridges of puffed-up leather and swirling detail work in sequins and faux gems — like what a black hole would look like in a glam cosmos. A massive work of nine panels, Hand in the Pool of Maria Montez (2006) riffs on the theme of cosmic and oceanic blue: Mini-constellations of vintage beadwork; small engravings of incongruous phrases ("Doris Day," "Save Me From Myself," etc.); and tiny chachkas (blue Tweety Bird heads, anyone?) mass in an encyclopedic collection of Freudian kitsch — the kind of cheap stuff that rises above the dime-store and sets off deep internal registers of memory, loss and childlike joy. The mad intricacy of the work recalls our own City Museum, with its eclectic, mosaic-like installations of found consumer material. One could easily imagine Tanner's work on a similar scale, but the pleasure lies in its humble intimacy. For all the bombast, this is more of a quilt than an edifice, constructed minute piece by minute piece, at home, held in hand. Through June 17 at Atrium Gallery, 4728 McPherson Avenue; 314-367-1076 or www.atriumgallery.net. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat., noon-4 p.m. Sun. and by appointment on Tue

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 20, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation