Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bruno David Gallery, Inaugural Exhibition

I recall standing on the terrace of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts a couple of years ago. Observing the naked cityscape below, I spied several buildings which had been spared the swath of the dozer. One of them, I thought, would make an excellent art gallery, owing to its location near the Pulitzer and the Contemporary. That building is now the home of the new Bruno David Gallery. Naturally, I was curious to see how it turned out and went to the grand opening.
The "Inaugural Exhibition" is a salon show with a good bit of local talent. Always nice to see the locals appreciated. The room was busy. For the most part, I was content to enjoy the artwork casually. I took a moment to study the piece (shown here) titled "Bio-Tapestry #2" by Chris Kahler. Chris happened to be standing there and noticed my interest. "What do you think?" I hate that question. There are three answers to it: I like it, I don't understand it, and Would you excuse me I have to go see a man about a dog. Fortunately, I was teetering between the first two which allowed me to engage the artist in conversation. Chris explained his work "involves the analysis of images and patterns contained within biological systems". I told him of my new found but reluctant interest in micro- biology as it has now become my daughters lifes work.
There are a number of elements which I like in this work. The color is quite fetching. The composition is nice. The subject matter has not been abstracted beyond recognition which allows one to tell his work. Also very important is his conviction of execution. From his web site: "Essential to my process of painting are risk and fluidity. Utilizing the bleeding and fusion of colors, while controlling their flow and growth, I achieve a combination of carefully rendered forms and gestural movement, creating a gracefully unpredictable web of paint." Chris Kahler web site: http://www.kahlerart.com
One other piece in the show which I would like to proclaim a fondness for: Bis/Citra by Leslie Laskey Using the simple shapes of squares and circles, an interesting compostion is developed by layering textures in colors of off white, ivory, rust, silver, gray and white all of which are set off by the perfect black frame.

The Bruno David Gallery is much larger that I expected.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Joseph James (Joe) Jones from Expressions of the 30's

The print class I took last summer required a paper on screen printing. Due to my interest in local artists, I decided find someone from Saint Louis famous for prints. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Not many famous print makers from Saint Louis. It took me about two hours with the Internet and Google before I selected Joe Jones. I submitted the paper without actually seeing any of his work first hand. This week I got the chance. His work is included in a show, "Expressions of the '30's" at the Saint Louis Artists' Guild.
During the 1930's, St Genevieve, Missouri, had an Artist Colony which was supported by the Saint Louis Artist Guild. Author, Scott Kerr, along with co author, R.H Dick, have written a book, "American Art Colony" which covers the work done there. This work has been gathered, much from private collections, and is on display until December 3rd. In discussing the show, Mr. Kerr described Joe Jones as "The Rogue", Joe Jones. Now I want to learn more about his character. There are some big names in this show but, none the less, my favorite painting was one done by Joe Jones, "Eads Bridge". This suggests my preferences during subjective review are be swayed by personal interest in spite of the fact I pride myself on objectivity.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Marianne Pepper at The May Gallery

Altered States, October 7th - 28th, 2005

I know of Marianne's work through association with the Saint Louis Artist Guild. She is a member of the "Six Shooters" gang and I can't tell if she is the muscle or the brains. Diversified in technique, she produces a lot of different types of work, which makes this show special. One could easily spend an hour and still circle back for more. Marianne uses images which are not readily familiar, gathered through travel. She then blends these with color and texture garnered from unrelated sources to produce a composition unique.

When viewing new work, I like to relax into it and save the analysis for later. This is a challenge when there are multiple techniques in the work and curiosity takes hold. Fortunately, Marianne was all too happy to go back through the work and answer all of my "what's this?" and "how's that?" questions. She uses an Epson 2200 printer on watercolor paper. Much of her work involves Polaroid image and emulsion transfers and also Ortho Litho film overlays. One of her works uses the same image but produced twice, side by side, once with each technique. The overlay technique is very effective. From the guide - "Ortho Litho Film Overlays are produced by printing one image on a sheet of ortho litho film (producing a high contrast transparent image) which is then placed on top of a color photograph of another image. The two photographic images merge together as one. The top image (ortho litho film) becomes dominant, while the bottom color photograph becomes a background of texture, color and shape."

The May Gallery, located in Webster University, is a photographic gallery which has its foundation based in education. As such, the entrance is adorned with photographic work from students past. Each is labeled with artists name and the event from which it was selected. It is an impressive collection going back many years. Each piece seems to be uniquely creative, which is why I like student artwork. At that age, creativity has yet to suffer the stifling effects of wisdom. While others may be trying to get in touch with their inner child, the young students are still one with it. When I try to get in touch with my inner child, the little brat always gets me into trouble.