Monday, March 16, 2009

Villere at Ferrara, Rucker at Roger








As much as abstract art can be said to be "about" anything, Sidonie Villere's new CAMOUFLAGE series suggests something of life's tensions and contradictions. Made up of canvas, paint, gauze, porcelain, string and wax, these ethereal white-on-white mixed media concoctions are mostly minimal but with occasional baroque flourishes. Building on Villere's past references to the contours of soft skin and hard earth, they may evoke a social dimension, an interplay of blending in and standing out, even as they seem to reiterate those associations of geology and biology, of deserts and beaches, of fabric and bandages, that resonate within the depths of our collective memories.
WITH AND WITHOUT, top, is a series of five rectangular panels wrapped in white gauze. They almost hark to Donald Judd's iconic minimalist sculptures, but their varying dimensions and porous white surfaces give them a more personal and tropical aura. Two feature smaller panels pressing forward against the gauze like pregnant flesh against soft fabric, so where Judd was unyielding, Villere individuates and personalizes related forms, adapting them to a more fluid
and feminine environment. Similar strategies appear in DISCIPLINE, left, a series of minimal, flat white ceramic vessels that, wrapped in white cord, radiate a frisson of contradictions. Villere's pristinely post-minimal works suggest those unspoken mysteries that express themselves in so many extraordinarily ordinary ways.

Longtime Loyola art instructor and part time musician/songwriter, Steve Rucker, is fascinated by nature. His STORM SONG VARIATIONS features 45 colorful ceramic abstractions, each supported by three black steel legs. Spiraling within the gallery like the outer bands of a hurricane, they possess elements of beauty and menace. But rather than depicting rampaging elements, they suggest their inner spirits as they seem to march relentlessly like apocalyptic horsemen, nightmare riders from the storms of myth and memory. ~ D. Eric Bookhardt
STORM SONG VARIATIONS: Recent Drawings and Sculpture by W. Steve Rucker
Through March 28
Arthur Roger@434, 434 Julia Street, 522-1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com

CAMOUFLAGE: New Paintings and Sculpture by Sidonie Villere
Through March 28
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400a Julia Street, 522.5471; www.jonathanferraragallery.com

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