Tuesday, March 24, 2009

H x W x D at UNO

Monday, March 23, 2009

You could call it an "alumni show," but it's really more momentous than that. HxWxD marks the 30th anniversary of the University of New Orleans' Masters of Fine Arts program and is also part of UNO's 50th anniversary celebration. Once a desolate former military base, UNO is now a cultural and economic engine with influence that extends far and wide. Because the 18 artists in this show span several decades, it's an expo that also traces the UNO school's stylistic evolution from its earlier pop abstraction and imagism to the playfully polemical postmodernism for which it is known today.

Of course not everyone fits neatly into either category. Allison Stewart's elegantly abstract, nature-based canvases are more decorously languid than anything we ordinarily associate with UNO, and Ted Calas's stark, near-monochromatic paintings of people in transitional moments of rumination are studies in Uptown existentialism. But Louisiana Imagism lives on in Krista Jurisich's socio-political fabric art, below, as well as in the work of Alan Gerson, whose creepily lovely still life paintings suggest the work of exiled Dutch Masters on mars.

But a pivot between pop abstraction and polemical postmodernism appears in the work of Peter Halley, left, whose recent paper studies hew closely to the grid-like schematics that he employed during his neo-geo insurgency in New York in the late 1980s, an art historical milestone that, with his thoughtful published writings, make him something of a philosopher king among painters.

The more playful side of UNO postmodernism appears in the tartly prankish paper currency-based prints of Dan Tague, as well as in the no less tartly prankish paper currency-based sculpture of Srdan Loncar. But a synthesis of postmodernism and imagism appears in Jessica Goldfinch's anatomically anomalous shrinky-dink holy cards such as ST. MARIAM WITH CHILD, right, as well as in Daphne Loney's CANDY DREAMS, above, part of her ongoing inquiry into the psychic correspondence between religious icons and animal trophies expressed in steel and Lucite. ~D. Eric Bookhardt

H x W x D: Thirty Years of MFA at UNO
Through March
UNO St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave., 280-6493; www.uno.edu
(Expanded from Gambit Weekly)

Lawn Jockey's Revenge

Oysters and Hot Sauce

Eye-Con: Paintings by Scott Guion
Through April 6
Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 525-2767;
www.barrister's gallery.com

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