Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pavel Wojtasik's Prospect.2 Video Installation Below Sea Level at Delgado, Parallel Play Open Studios at T-Lot

The Delgado College art gallery, with its tall arched windows, is one of the more imposing local art spaces, but lately it has become a darkened cavern. Once inside you are in a circular audio-visual environment surrounded by moving panoramic views of New Orleans area wonders such as the petrochemical corridor, the Huey Long bridge and ravaged portions of the Lower 9th Ward--bleak vistas balanced by views of the natural bounty of the swamplands, the vast Mississippi and its eternal parade of ships, as well as pulsating city streets throbbing with the passing parade of colorful humanity for whom all the city is a stage, and on a good day many are in costume. Polish expat Paval Wojtasik's magical technical accomplishments in his 30 minute video loop Below Sea Level (short preview version above) captures this as a panoramic ballet of people and things in motion, a gliding and pirouetting, expanding and contracting landscape where streets appear as compressed crystal ball vistas that suddenly expand to surround you with panoramas of boulevards or bayous, or even the tiled delirium of the Harvey Tunnel, below.

It recalls both the metaphysical grit of Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law movie and the rhapsodic pacing of Walt Whitman's lyrical visionary evocations of American life. Wojtasik calls it “a love poem,” and like all ideal love, it is unconditional.

One of the great things about the Prospect biennials is how they inspire the community to step up their game, and the artists of the T-Lot studios responded by allowing visitors on weekends. The occupants of this aesthetic beehive, a group that includes Angela Berry, Hannah Chalew, Siobhan Feehan, Georgia Kennedy, Stephen Kwok and Natalie McLaurin, provide surprise offerings ranging from a techno-pagan altar and pre-fab ruins to flow charts of fun over the course of a lifetime, as well as a variety of mechanical-sculptural mystery objects. You never know what you'll see, but it's a great place to be surprised.~Bookhardt

BELOW SEA LEVEL by Pavel Wojtasik, Through Jan. 29, Delgado Art Gallery, 615 City Park Ave., 671-6377;, PARALLEL PLAY: Open Studio Exhibitions by T-Lot Artists, Sat. & Sun, 12—5pm, Through Jan. 31, T-Lot Studios, 1940 St. Claude.,