'Tis the season to be jolly: Ho ho ho. As we enter the Christmas season of giving, more Americans seem to be recovering from the recent recession, yet the presence of homeless people hustling for handouts persists like a Dickensian flashback to a harsher time. Passers by avert their eyes, as if to make them invisible, but NOPD homicide detective Charles "Beau" Haffacker not only engages with them, he buys their cardboard signs, on which he paints their portrait, leaving bits of scrawled pleas for help visible. An intriguing selection of them are on view at Barrister's. Here his sketchy yet deftly executed brushstrokes enable us to actually see their human dimension, maybe for the first time. Many may be addicts or psychologically impaired, and some may be war veterans suffering from PTSD, but by painting them with such a deft hand and empathetic eye, Hoffacker reveals their soulful aura. Their issues will no doubt persist, but they are no longer invisible.
In the adjacent exhibit of sculptural works by Daniel P. Alley and Srdjan Loncar, modern art plays tricks and nothing is what it seems. Inspired by mass media imagery, Srdjan Loncar fills a gallery space with languidly curved sheet aluminum sculptures with faux finishes like the oxidized steel employed by minimalist sculptor Richard Serra in his similar, but way larger, installations. Curiously, the relative thinness of the aluminum panels, and the glossy white surface of their flip side also suggests oversize photographs in what must be seen as a comment on the profligate appropriation that digital technology facilitates. Daniel Alley takes us to the Washington Monument, which recently reopened after its pyramidal tip was repaired. In this pristine installation, dozens of imperfect cast aluminum pyramids appear in a precisely lit display, a mini-jewelry showroom where they rest on a glass shelves like so many variations on a theme. Rising from the floor, a majestic replica of the monument displays a perfect pyramid at its peak. Alley's work is dedicated to aluminum technology pioneer William Frishmuth, a German immigrant who cast the aluminum pyramid that topped off the Washington Monument in 1884. ~Bookhardt
Concerted Effort: Metal Sculpture and Assemblage by Daniel P. Alley and Srdjan Loncar; Homeless: The Definitive Collection: Paintings on Cardboard by Charles "Beau" Hoffacker, Through Dec. 6, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506.
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