Where is Chalmatia? In the local geopsychic nomenclature, "Chalmatians" are residents of a certain city, Chalmette, in suburban St. Bernard Parish just east of New Orleans. It's a place that bore the brunt of Hurricane Katrina and lost many residents, but in this CAC expo it's more like a state of mind. The work of Louisianian Daneeta Jackson and her Swedish expat partner Patrick Jackson, Chalmatia is a stream of consciousness, word and image narrative that depicts a fictionalized version of "a fractured landscape of broken strip malls, empty lots, and bare cement slabs that once supported a thriving community--a place largely defined by what’s no longer there." Like the Louisiana town in Walker Percy's dystopian novel Love in the Ruins, things have fallen apart here. People get by on nostalgia or make believe as their lives assume mythic qualities.
Chalmatia: A Fictional Place Down the Road: Mixed Media by Daneeta and Patrick Jackson, through Sept. 8, Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528.3805
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Ave., 616-7427; Neon Graffiti by Jerry Therio; Drawings by Christopher Deris; Bonfire Installation by Claire Rau, Through July 7, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Paintings, Drawings and Photographs: Mixed Media by George Dureau, Through July 13, Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St. 522-1999; Left: Robert Mapplethorpe by George Dureau, circa 1978.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Deborah Pelias' "Sanity" at Boyd Satellite Gallery and Paul Tarver's "Jaguar Empire" at Cole Pratt Gallery
Can a leopard change its spots? Maybe not, but in ancient Mayan religion jaguars were divine beings who could assume almost any form. Paul Tarver's Jaguar Empire paintings are based on the rare wall paintings still extant in surviving Mayan temples, but the focus is on their overall aura rather than the minutia of their details, hence they are impressionistic tributes to a lost and, for its time, advanced civilization. Tarver employs mottled brushwork as "a subtle homage" to the jaguar's spotted fur, but it is his distillation of forms that reminds us of the Mayan influence on design ranging from art deco and high modernism to the postmodernism of 20th century architecture. ~D. Eric Bookhardt
Sanity: Repeating the Same Process and Getting Different Results: New Paintings by Deborah Pelias, Through July 1, Boyd Satellite Gallery, 440 Julia St., 899-4218; Jaguar Empire: Oil and Wax paintings by Paul Tarver, Through June 29, Cole Pratt Gallery, 3800 Magazine St., 891-6789
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Beyond Beasts at the Contemporary Arts Center is really two shows in one. For the many fans of Benh Zeitlin's internationally acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild, it is an inside look at the homespun local movie that unexpectedly received four Oscar nominations. A floor to ceiling spectacle, it includes videos showing how Beasts was made by Zeitlin's Court 13 collective, various props and some of his earlier short films. But there is also a significant visual art story here because the "look" of Beasts is mostly the work of Zeitlin's sister, Eliza, whose art will be familiar to anyone who saw New Orleans Airlift's Music Box performances of musical shanties for which she built the first and biggest musical structure. Both projects featured some of the same artists and an organic localized aesthetic that is not only a St. Claude undercurrent but also coincidentally echoes elements of Elizabeth Shannon's and Robert Tannen's early CAC exhibitions years ago.
Beyond Beasts: Eliza Zeitlin and the Art of Court 13, through June 16, Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528.3805