Sunday, January 2, 2011

Prospect.1.5 at Various Venues About Town

Prairie Family Plain and Tall by Michael Pajon
Click Images to Expand
     If there was ever any question about how much the New Orleans art scene has grown in recent years, December witnessed an art community in overdrive as major spectacles like PhotoNOLA, DesCours and Prospect.1.5 overlapped in a hyperactive cluster of events. PhotoNOLA alone had shows at over 50 venues, some extending into this month, so even a big deal like the Prospect.1.5 Biennial had to compete for attention. More low-key than its stellar predecessor, P.1.5 incorporates many local as well as big city artists in an ambitious experiment in aesthetic cross-fertilization. At LeMieux, the combo of local painter Alan Gerson and Los Angeles photographer Brice Bischoff, left, was inspired, as was the pairing of New York artist Margaret Evangeline and Baton Rouge sculptor Loren Schwerd at Heriard-Cimino. Ditto New Orleans-born, New Haven painter Max Toth and Bosnia-born New Orleans artist Lala Rascic, below, at Good Children.

     The EVERYDAY HYBRID expo at the Delgado Gallery is something of an oddity. The local and New York artists--Brad Benischek, Sesthasak Boonchai, Jennifer Odem, Alex Podesta, Regina Scully, Brian St.Cyr and Panacea Theriac--are all quite accomplished and stimulating, yet so visually incongruous as a group that it can be hard to leave with a clear impression of what you saw. In FRESH OFF THE TURNIP TRUCK at Madame John's legacy, Michael Pajon's cosmically kitschy, ethno-historical collages such as PRAIRIE FAMILY PLAIN AND TALL, top, are so precise as to make many of the other artists' works look almost incongruously laissez faire despite being broadly interesting. But everything comes together cohesively in THE MACHINE IN THE GARDEN expo at Octavia, as Brian Borrello, Ralph Bourque (below), Daphne Loney, Michel Varisco and Christy Speakman all provide poetic explorations of the dark side of Louisiana's carbon-based economy in contrast with the creative spirit of its people, the incandescence of the sun, moon and stars.  ~Bookhardt
EVERYDAY HYBRID: Prospect.1.5 Group Exhibition, Through Jan. 27, Isaac Delgado Gallery, 3rd Floor, 615 City Park Ave.,
FRESH OFF THE TURNIP TRUCK: Prospect.1.5 Group Exhibition, Through Jan 20, Madame John's Legacy, 632 Dumaine St., 568- 6968;

THE MACHINE IN THE GARDEN: Prospect.1.5 Group Exhibition, Through Jan. 8, Octavia Art Gallery, 4532 Magazine Street, 309-4249;