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In the Galleries - White Cloud Lament CLOSES October 21 at the Artists' Guild 

White Cloud Lament:Kim Wardenburg

White Cloud Lament:Kim Wardenburg

Drawing upon an earlier iteration of St. Louis, when it was enthralled by steam power and aspired to be the "New York of Middle America," recent Washington University graduate Kim Wardenburg created this series of bright, atmospheric monoprints. Typically characterized by the technique's painterly qualities, the images are astonishingly crisp and intricately rendered. Phrases in bold text lace through the otherwise ethereal terrain, enigmatic proclamations along the lines of, "The gloom of distressed land will not be like that of former times!" Though the language appears to match the era Wardenburg evokes in her images, it dates back to biblical times — surreptitiously the long view of St. Louis' putative golden age. Elsewhere, red gravestones sink into low horizon lines, and railroad tracks sketch diaphanous routes to the edge of the unknown. Clouds abound, both as weather and as the humid exhalations of riverboats, constructed with torn-out and re-pasted pieces of handmade paper. Created during a residency at the St. Louis Artists' Guild, White Cloud Lament elegantly explores a more optimistic version of our city, but one that traces the all-too-familiar narrative about hubris and how, inevitably, the mighty fall. Through October 21 at the St. Louis Artists' Guild, 2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton; 314-727-6266 or www.stlouisartistsguild.org. Hours: noon-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun.

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