Sunday, September 27, 2015

India Jacobs, Jeffrey Thurston, Kyle Bravo and Kelly Mueller at the Front

The great thing about the galleries along St. Claude is their unpredictability, the way potential genius is free to experiment. The annoying thing about St. Claude galleries is their unpredictability--not knowing if you'll see something great or half-baked. The Front has four connected spaces where artists can do their thing. This month all four spaces hold work that is actually polished, or at least deftly realized, as we see upon entering and confront India Jacobs' Future Mythologies series of prints and drawings. The recent Tulane architecture grad's work is based on her view of her native Los Angeles as a pricey virtual reality rendition of the American Dream that she distills into sci-fi visions like Destination Airship Mechanics, above, a geometric rhapsody of scaffolds, cranes, slinky tubes and striated spheres rendered in day-glo colors. Similar components appear in Building the American Dream, but here they support an aerial golf course, with helicopters, mysterious domes and surveillance devices hovering over the greens. As in Aerosol and Industrial Waste--a realm where monumental beauty parlor hair dryers and industrial cooling towers stand like Easter Island monoliths--we confront a future based on present tendencies taken to their logical conclusions.
San Francisco native Jeffrey Thurston's ceramic sculptures, left, suggest archaeological artifacts mingled with cityscapes, human bones, and tiles from ancient civilizations, a perspective he says was inspired by the way Bay Area Rapid Transit offers odd, cutaway views of the city. Kyle Bravo's obsessive cartoon series of his and his wife's daily life before and after the birth of their child, below, are touching yet entertaining, a visual diary of their familiar yet wondrous journey. And Kelly Mueller's abstracted views of wild boars and vultures and fishing trawlers at Shell Beach, left, reflect such a knowing, visceral familiarity that it's hard to believe she's a Chicago transplant. ~Bookhardt / Future Mythologies: Revisiting the American Dream: New Work by India Jacobs; This Shifting Vessel: New Ceramics by Jeffrey Thurston; Making Jamie: Cartoon Journal of Childbirth and Parenting by Kyle Bravo; Brand New Atlas: Mixed Media Works by Kelly A. Mueller; Through Oct. 4, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980.