Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ferguson, Michel, Windish and Traviesa at the Front



These days you never know what you're going to see on St. Claude Avenue. That was always true—it's  always been a little strange—but it's doubly true now that it is an arts district. Lala Rascic's black light  installation at Good Children looks cryptic but proved a fertile setting for her recent, and startlingly effective, “lecture performance” on Bosnia as the last refuge of the Homeric epic tradition. Across the street at the Front there are some animal family album photographs, extraterrestrial fashions, and photographs of “random moments within the built environment.” Andrea Ferguson's FAMILY OF MANIMALS are cutely surreal images of animal headed critters in human garb posed as figures in old family albums and the like, printed on cross-sections of tree trunks. Rendered in sepia, they are oddly engaging. Nearby, Brooklyn-based Vashti Windish and Cameron Michel's collages evoke old time psychedelic Tantric-baroque space odysseys with matching fashions, top, from the Lysithean Order, a tribe that they say lives on one of Jupiter's moons where these tunics and accessories are worn by young Lysitheans during rites of passage as they mutate into orbs of light, which must really be something to see.  All of which may help atone, if only briefly, for the loss of some cosmic murals at the Saturn Bar down the street that were tragically destroyed by a fire a few years back. Always a melting pot, St. Claude has  struggled since Katrina to maintain its extraterrestrial heritage and shows like this can only help.


Back on earth, Jonathan Traviesa takes us on a photographic meander through natural and unnatural marvels including some industrial teepees erected on mysterious mountains and a facsimile of Mt. Rushmore in suburbia. More natural are some massive exposed tree roots, above, labyrinthine botanical structures that look  almost extraterrestrial and suggest that planet earth may be home to the strangest life forms of all.  ~Bookhardt
FAMILY OF MANIMALS: Mixed Media Constructions by Andrea Ferguson
ARTICLES OF THE LYSITHEAN ORDER: New Work by Cameron Michel and Vashti Windish 

BEACONS ABOUND: New Photographs by Jonathan Traviesa, Through May 8, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980; www.nolafront.org  
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