vistas of leafy old New Orleans neighborhoods, Phil Sandusky has of late taken us along a road less traveled--at least, for him. In this city it is not surprising to see a plein air painter working at an easel in front of a French Quarter or Uptown landmark, but to find one daubing away across from a CBD Walgreen's or chain hotel is another matter. Yet this show encompasses all of the above, and there is even a canvas featuring the WATERWORKS, above, on Claiborne Ave., which appears as a bucolic vista recalling the early days of industrialization in the South. While his pre-Katrina work mostly rendered genteel Uptown byways in a gauzily impressionistic style that was often lovely if almost predictably sweet, his work right after the storm rendered its ravages with the unflinching candor of a social realist. Here his flair for wreckage appears in DEMOLITION ON HILLARY ST., a site of mechanized
destruction rendered as if by a modern day Monet. But other intrusions of modernity into otherwise timeless vistas appear in works like FIG AND CARROLLTON, a view of urban desolation redeemed by balmy pastel light. MUSTANG ON PEARL STREET, above right, contrasts the pop contours of a car with the ancient cottage behind it as impressionistic brushwork evokes the humidity on a balmy day when the sun-baked pavement transforms the air into a dense presence with a shape-shifting life of its own. Here Sandusky reveals his flair as a poet of this city’s ambient phenomena that most of us take for granted.
PLEIN AIR PORTRAITS OF NEW ORLEANS: New Work by Phil Sandusky
Cole Pratt Gallery, 3800 Magazine St., 891-6789; www.coleprattgallery.com
MULTIPLES: New Work by George Dunbar Heriard-Cimino Gallery
Through Dec. 2
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, 440 Julia St., 525-7300; www.heriardcimino.com
As seen in Gambit
Sunday, November 15, 2009
For More Environmental Light Sculptures Click: Life Is Art Foundation Sculpture Exhibition at New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park
Adelyn, Ash Wednesday, by Alec SothRobert Colescott died last June at his home in Tucson. He was 83, and highly respected in the art world. The first black American to represent the U.S. in a solo show at the Venice Biennale, his work was in many major collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He had close ties to New Orleans, where his parents were born and raised. After serving in World War II, he made zany paintings that dealt with racial or social issues in a highly satirical manner. His remake of the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware replaced him with the black agricultural chemist, George Washington Carver, at the helm of a boat loaded with minstrels, cooks and maids. Painted in a zany, California Imagist style, the works on view continue in a similar vein.
In SUMMERTIME, right, a white blonde in a sagging bikini reclines under a sky filled with black crows circling an Afro Minnie Mouse with big boobs as a black guy approaches her with his tongue hanging out. Presumably a satire on racial preconceptions, its meaning is up to the viewer. As with much Colescott, we’re not always sure what we’re looking at, but always we know we’re looking at SOMETHING.
The adjacent gallery contains some large color photos by Alec Soth, a 40 year-old Minneapolis photographer who has been making waves with works such as this subtly atmospheric series exploring life along the Mississippi. ADELYN, ASH WEDNESDAY, NEW ORLEANS, above, depicts a tired, tattooed redhead with an ashen cross on her forehead. Asked what she was giving up for Lent, she hit Soth up for a beer, explaining that she wasn’t really Catholic and her cross was made from cigarette ash. JOSHUA, ANGOLA PRISON, depicts an angelic looking inmate who turned out to be serving a sentence for murder. Like a postmodern O. Henry, Soth provides many ironic insights in a highly evocative series where every picture really does tell a story. (Although both shows officially came down on Nov. 14, the work remains available for viewing during the following week.) ~Eric Bookhardt
Robert Colescott: TROUBLED GOODS
Alec Soth: SLEEPING BY THE MISSISSIPPI
Through Nov. 14
Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St., 522-1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Sunset Refinery (still) by David SullivanHOT UP HERE: New Work by New Orleans Artists
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528.3805; www.cacno.org
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"Intimate, beautiful, disturbing," such are the adjectives applied to the work of Sibylle Peretti, whose visions of children convey a quietly mysterious other world. Like a parallel universe, Peretti-world is part dream and part fairy tale, but it also resonates a certain reality that we sense without knowing exactly what it is, at least not at first. A native of Germany who resides most of the year in New Orleans but keeps an apartment in Cologne, Peretti has long been inspired by children who lived with circumstances that caused them to have to establish their own unique relationships with the world, especially the natural world of the “feral children” who inspired her current body of work. While the idea of children raised by wolves and wild creatures is hardly new, having served as the basis for much traditional mythology, Peretti’s approach is more psychological, invoking perhaps the prehistory of human consciousness, those deeply subconscious dreams or memories of a more mystical union with nature that latently reside within us all.
The works on view are a mixture of freestanding porcelain sculptures, etched translucent wall panels, and glass raindrop-shaped wall sculptures, all depicting children seemingly in a state of suspended animation if not repose. Otherworldly and dreamlike, their presence is somnambulistic, charismatically quiescent as they relate to each other or to birds, vines and brambles, the flora and fauna of the natural landscape. Like her earlier series of “silent children,” inspired by the haunting expressions seen in photographs of youngsters in antique German medical texts, they explore the hidden side of childhood, a complex, contemplative world of dreams, imaginings and gestures. Of the earlier series, Peretti said "They represent innocence, but also a kind of knowing, yet they cannot really say what they know so they speak their own wordless language." Much the same might be said of these “feral children,” whose silence hints at the delicate relationship between human civilization and the remaining wildness that lingers around us, and within us. ~Eric Bookhardt
THE UNUSUAL KIND: Mixed Media Works by Sibylle Peretti
Gallery Bienvenu, 518 Julia St., 525-0518; www.gallerybienvenu.com