Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seen on St. Claude

At Good Children Through November 8: 
Spontaneous Human Combustion by Srdjan Loncar  
Watch Your Step by Adrian Price 

View More: Seen on St. Claude

What Would a New Orleans Motorcycle Look Like?

The passing of former gov. Dave Treen was a poignant moment because he was a reminder of an earlier breed of Republicans--honorable men of traditional values and who mostly conducted themselves with dignity and circumspection.

But what I always found most interesting was his former family business: the Simplex Motorcycle company, which was based in New Orleans from 1925 until it folded in 1960, although you could still spot them occasionally into the 1980s. As the article below mentions, it was the only motorcycle made in the South.
Read More: What Would a New Orleans Motorcycle Look Like?

Seen at Antenna

Through November 8:
Deep. Down. Dirty: An Exploration of Southern Female Sexuality 
Curated by Robin Atkinson
Junk N' Juce by Helen Maurene Cooper
View More:  Seen at Antenna

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monica Zeringue at Heriard-Cimino, Saskia Ozols Eubanks at Christensen

Monica Zeringue has for some time intrigued art buffs with enigmatic, surreal and meticulous drawings of little girls wearing little more than their undies as they pursue dreamlike pastimes. Despite their tender age, their sensuality seemed almost adult or even suggestive—but of what? In her new show, the drawings are larger and on linen, yet just as precise, and her girls, now pubescent, are still in their undies. Zeringue says they are all images of herself—or selves—at that age, which sounds more ordinary than this stuff looks. Clearly, this is the twilight zone of child portraiture.
    In WARM, above, a girl is curled up on a mattress, snug as a bug in a cocoon of her own hair, wrapped around her and hanging over the side like a blanket. In ARC, top, several seem to float on top of each other in a human chain that forms an arch hovering over a mattress in what must be the most decorous out-of-body experience imaginable. Not content to defy ordinary expectations, they also defy most laws of physics. What does it all mean? The tone is Kafkaesque with hints of Bunuel, which is to say claustrophobic and surreal. There is also a distinct, if subliminal, Catholic girls school vibe. Here Zeringue probes the far regions of the subconscious imagination in meticulously crafted works that will resonate differently with different viewers. Wondrously obsessive, it’s kind of great, if profoundly eccentric, work.    
    Many of Saskia Ozols Eubanks’ classical yet gestural paintings are mysterious and mystical if not transformational. Inspired by Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES, their diffuse, poetic washes of paint depict crows, horses, heroes and even a birth of Venus with a post-Katrina waterline, all seemingly in a state of near mythic transition. Her still life paintings are smaller, deftly traditional, and typically gorgeous. Taken together, these contrasting series of paintings offer two approaches to the poetics of timelessness.
~Eric Bookhardt    
GATHERINGS: New Works by Monica Zeringue
Through October
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, 440 Julia St., 525.7300;

METAMORPHOSES: Paintings by Saskia Ozols Eubanks
Through October
Soren Christensen Gallery, 400 Julia St. 569-9501;

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Perelli at d.o.c.s., Schwab at CoLAB

Nature gives and nature takes away. Weather and wild animals have always caused people to seek shelter, and the botanical world has often provided it along with food and medicine. The "Leaves of Grass" references in the work of Whitman and the Bible refer to the common vulnerabilities of people and plants, and now some recent works by two New Orleans artists visually extend the metaphor. Keith Perelli is known for virtuoso painterly illusionism, but in this show he demonstrates admirable command of the notoriously fickle medium of monotypes as well as some larger and more elaborate collages. All feature the human form and found objects, especially leaves. In BROKEN, above, the noble head on a dude with braided hair tops off a body more like a husk of leaves, paint and litter. Bisected down the middle, his torso is stitched in a futile effort to make him whole again. In Y, right, a female nude with a Nefertiti profile and leafy limbs poses in a space that blurs the boundary between inside and outside, and here Perelli melds the patterning of the botanical and the human realms to suggest a healing elemental chrysalis. (Click to expand images.)

Ann Schwab has long explored the healing potential of the plant kingdom in her photography-based mixed media concoctions. Her delicate assemblages of wing-like maple seeds bound with thread to an encaustic base are visual parables of the tension between action and the quiescent repose of regeneration. It’s a theme that recurs in various works that pristinely pair broken limbs with verdant growth in a metaphor for trauma and regeneration in the plant kingdom. But Schwab takes a turn toward the wet and wild in her ULTRASOUND series of photographs of dramatically glowing jellyfish accompanied by a recorded sound loop of a child’s foetal heartbeat in the womb, a visual ode to the ocean as the amniotic sea from which earthly life was born. ~Eric Bookhardt
PURE: Photographic Mixed Media Works by Ann Schwab
Through October
CoLAB Projects, 527 St. Joseph St., 566.8999;

MONOTYPES: Recent Work by Keith Perelli
Through Dec. 3
d.o.c.s. gallery, 709 Camp St., 524-3936;

If True, this is, maybe, kind of, Great News:

"The plug was pulled, but life went on -- invigorating life. There might not be a new movement, per se, but there are radically adjusted mind-sets. Fear of form, color and physicality are diminishing. Previously forbidden methodologies are reemerging: pours, patterns, laminations, complex (even mystical) counting systems, obsessive mark-making and surface manipulation, suggestions of still life, digital motifs, even trompe l’oeil. Artists are --hallelujah! -- finally tiring of recycling Warhol and Richter and are instead investigating the handmade, and how irony and sincerity can coexist." Read More: A New Kind of Boom by Jerry Saltz

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tony Fitzpatrick at AMMO

He’s been called a “master printmaker," but he's also a poet, actor and inveterate gadabout. And when it comes to gallivanting, his favored stomping grounds are his old hometown of Chicago and his occasional home of New Orleans, where he attunes himself to the poetry of the streets, the scents of his favorite restaurants and the sounds of certain music clubs. A mystic of all things sensate, he poses a triple threat with notes about his collages as hypnotic as the graphics themselves. Then there are the poetic texts within the images, hieroglyphic arrangements of memories and observations, or deadpan analogies stacked like tombstones on the peripheries.
(Click on images for expanded view.)
THE DEVIL’S MUSIC, top, is one of a series of small collages dedicated to the arcane symbolism of the number nine, that digital talisman of eluded limits and lives lived on the edge. Here a tawny 9 shines in a nocturnal sea of symbols, of floating music notes and metallic deco diamonds, of the lassos of cardboard cowboys and dice coming up snake eyes. Vintage high-rise towers and ads for flapper-era cafes vie with the visual cacophony of the city as an unsettling message appears on the margin: “SHE HEARD; ROLLING PIANO JAZZ; AND THE DEVIL SAT DOWN AT HER TABLE.” His notes invoke the “greasy laugh” of an old friend who once warned: “Tread lightly brother, you and me are already on our 9th life…” But in CANNERY ROW SCARECROW, his tribute to Steinbeck, above, the verse in the margin reads: "HE SLEPT ON MONTEREY BEACH AND DREAMT OF DEVILFISH GLOWING IN BLACKWATER SCHOOLS OF SARDINES. HE DREAMT OF GIN AND PUSSY AND WATER POURING FROM THE STARS."

THE QUEEN OF PINK ACID, right, is more ominous: an ebony elephant sporting a golden crown and a party dress with crimson hearts over her breasts. An electric mauve No. 9 shimmers before her as bouquets of daisies and the detached arms of antebellum damsels float in an ether of skulls and diamonds. A disembodied text implores: “YES BABY, I BEEN TO THE RIVER. NOW TAKE ME TO THE DANCE.” And here we enter a cryptic realm where Charles Baudelaire meets Marie Laveau, and where the siren song beckons, but where only those with lives to spare dare tread.
~Eric Bookhardt

No. 9: AN ARTIST'S JOURNEY: New Work by Tony Fitzpatrick
Through Oct. 15
AMMO Gallery, 938 Royal St., 301-2584;

Interview: Jessica Lange on Photography

An Interview with Jessica Lange
by D. Eric Bookhardt

“Up until about two or three years ago I didn’t show my photographs to anyone,” said Jessica Lange, revealing something of the reticence that is an essential if unlikely aspect of her persona. Poised and sleek at 60, she seems almost shy surrounded by her pictures at A Gallery for Fine Photography, as if still adjusting to her new role as an exhibited and published photographer. In some ways it harks to her early days as a fledgling documentary filmmaker in New York, where she did modeling jobs to pay the bills until she was discovered by veteran producer Dino de Laurentiis, who cast her as the female lead in his remake of KING KONG in 1976. Several decades and many acting credits and awards later, she seems a little disconcerted, as if it is she who is revealed in her moody, understated and often nocturnal images, and not simply her subjects. In fact, it is this unusually subtle, almost vulnerable quality that imbues her work with its poetic aura. How it all came about is a uniquely personal story that began in 1992 with a gift from her longtime partner, the noted playwright, actor and author, Sam Shepard. Read More:

Meghan McCain Uses Warhol as Foil for Self-Exposure

Filed Under "Threats" at Wonkette:

Read More, Click Link:
 The Concept Of “Meghan McCain” Reaches Its Natural And Necessary Conclusion

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bartlett at the Ogden Museum

If you haven't already seen Bo Bartlett's paintings at the Ogden Museum, by all means go. Even if you remain skeptical, as I did, it’s a show worth seeing simply on its merits as a visual spectacle. Bartlett’s vivid canvases are larger than life in almost every way. An occasional filmmaker who once produced a documentary about his mentor, Andrew Wyeth, he might also owe a debt to Cecil B. DeMille. Entering the Ogden’s fifth floor gallery is like going to a multiplex theater where dramatic, if stationary, narratives cover theater-size expanses of wall space. As with DeMille, not everything is convincing but his dramatic flair is never in doubt.
Born in Georgia, in 1955, Bartlett is a product of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and the Pennsylvania visual arts tradition in general, a largely realist legacy that harks to the epic 18th century history paintings of Benjamin West as well as the folksier Wyeth and varieties of magic realism. Elements of all three appear here. Some canvases from the 1980s suggest soft focus Wyeth, but in later works the light gets colder and more dramatic, etching down-home hunting and fishing scenes in the portentous luminosity of the northern renaissance.

Bartlett waxes mythic in works like LEVIATHAN, top, a beach scene where two guys slice open a whale to reveal a recumbent dude reminiscent of a Calvin Klein ad as two kids look on. Rendered in muted tones under a Nordic sky, this actually sort of works. But CIVIL WAR, below, is way over the top, a vast hallucinatory tableau with a zoned-out Southern Belle holding a dying black man in a renaissance-martyr pose in front of a copiously melting snowdrift. The figures suggest Hollywood Central Casting while the landscape suggests an Icelandic geological survey, and it’s all so zany it makes Salvador Dali look like a social realist. Yet even here, Bartlett gives us something weirdly remarkable to gawk at, such is his facility with the dramatic power of paint. ~Eric Bookhardt
Bo Bartlett: PAINTINGS: 1984--2000 (Click image for expanded view)
Through December
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600;