Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sometimes they don't come back. Some folks moved to Middle America after Katrina, fit right in, and stayed there. But what about the hard core New Orleanians who somehow ended up in extended exile? Folks like Post-K Nashville resident Scott Guion, whose striking new paintings are so Nola-centric that they feature vintage local icons like Mr. Bingle and Morgus the Magnificent, relics of a memory bank littered with lost Carnival throws and Lucky Dog wagons. HECK FREEZES OVER alludes to the recent Saints Super Bowl win, but it’s rendered in ‘70s style imagery, including the Superdome as a boiling kettle of crawfish and Buddy D as an angel in a dress. BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT, below, suggests a wayward youth spent between uptown head shops and Lower Garden District oases like the Felliniesque Half Moon tavern. THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANT’NY, top, depicts vintage stripper Blaze Starr pounding a bongo in her leopard skin bikini atop a giant, levitating plate of beignets, all rendered in the lurid tones of expired Kodachrome. Winged Jax and Falstaff beer cans, and a streetcar topped by the Hubig’s pie man, swarm like termites in the sky, all of which poses a frightening warning to the locals: stay away too long and the fates will relentlessly torment your brain with no end of insidious local kitch. Beware!
More vintage beer and flashbacks appear in JUNKFISH CAVIAR, Susan Gisleson’s poetic evocation of her pre-adolescent sexual awakening in the 1970s, an event provoked by her brother’s Playboy magazines and beery reveries. All that, plus the experiences of her five sisters and the pop icons of the period, inspired her symbolic manikin sculptures, archetypal figures in garments made from found objects, thorns, mirror shards, oyster shells and the like. The walls are covered with cutouts of curvy, busty babes incised from ‘70s-style interior paneling, reflecting the stereotypes that women have to work with, and around. In Gisleson’s world, the value of experiences, like found objects, depends on what you’re able to do with them. ~Bookhardt
HURRICANES, HANDGRENADES AND OTHER DELIGHTS: New Paintings by Scott Guion
Through July 17
Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-2506; www.barristersgallery.com
JUNKFISH CAVIAR: A Piece of Work by Susan Gisleson
Through July 4
Antenna Gallery, 3161 Burgundy St, 250-7975; www.press-street.com
Sunday, June 20, 2010
FIELD RECORDINGS: Recent Video and Light Sculptures by Courtney Egan
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, 440 Julia St. 525-7300; www.heriardcimino.com
Sunday, June 13, 2010
STANDING KNIFE, PINON AND MORNING GLORY is a 10-foot tall bronze, mahogany and stainless steel piece that suggests a skeletal flower atop a huge wooden blade. Here Surls alludes to the symbolism of male and female, but its inner meaning suggests a kind of prairie alchemy involving his notion of “conjuring —from the land, the wind and the bayous.” In some ways, the sheer heft of his materials can make some of these works seem a little bit earthbound even as similar concepts make his drawings sparkle with magical intent. But HEAD AND HOOF, right, a long pine tree root topped with petal or propeller-like forms, eludes gravity’s pull, partly because it hangs suspended, and partly because its radial forms atop the spindly armature of the root evoke an eerie energy not unlike magnetic levitation.
WALKING EYE FLOWER, top, a bronze pedestal sculpture, melds the ethereal abstraction of the drawings with a hint of the heft of the others in a snaky pinwheel with many eyes, a tumbleweed prairie demon dancing like Shiva in the convection currents. Here Surls mines the earthy expanses for their hidden meanings, which he distills into poetic wood and metal manifestos that speak the language of the land. ~Bookhardt
James Surls: RECENT SCULPTURE,
Through June 27
Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St., 522.1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Jacqueline Bishop’s Trespass, 2003-2004 (detail), above left, comprised of discarded baby shoes and bird replicas, addresses threats to the Louisiana landscape and beyond. Allison Stewart, top, an artist whose work is based on the Louisiana wetlands, describes her “awakening” on a flight to New Orleans across the Gulf of Mexico: “I saw the barrier islands literally sinking into the sea.Land at the mouth of the Mississippi was disintegrating like old lace, scarred by a thousand miles of oil canals and pipelines.” Others include Simon Gunning's paintings of shrimp boats in Venice, Louisiana, right, Luis Cruz Azaceta's Fear, above left, is a meditation on dark biohazards and Douglas Bourgeois' Aperture (detail), below, study of human frailty in the midst of an artificial forest of toxic industrial facilities. Through July 17, Arthur Roger@434 Gallery, 434 Julia St.; www.arthurrogergallery.com
(Click images to expand.)
BIG FREEDIA, depicting the beatifically beaming singer in a cloud of lavender and metallic mauve fabric, convey something of the otherworldliness of the genre. Most male performers ranging from Juvenile to Partners-N-Crime can be a tad too self-conscious, or wooden, except for the somnambulistic DJ Jimi, who somehow manages to employ narcolepsy as a dramatic device. All that and more appears in this remarkably detailed exploration of the unique parallel universe that is the New Orleans bounce scene. ~Bookhardt
WHERE THEY AT: New Orleans Bounce and Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures by Aubrey Edwards and Allison Fensterstock--Through July
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600, www.ogdenmuseum.org.