Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saturation/UNO St.Claude; M. Hoffman/5 Press

How we see our the world around us is something we take for granted. Anything we look at often enough looks normal--even in New Orleans! But that is all illusory. Thanks to Einstein, we now know that light is actually energy transmitted in waves and particles our mental processes shape into what passes for normal everyday reality. At UNO St. Claude, Jake Fried's Brain Lapse video—a psychedelic animation cobbled from ink, white out and coffee—provides intriguing parallels to Einstein's mental construction-deconstruction hypothesis. But The Blown Town in Tea, a mythico-surreal video animation by Japanese artist Saigo No Shudan, depicts an elderly sage levitating a bowl into the hands of a nubile maiden who vanishes into its otherworldly contents, recalling Einstein's description of quantum entanglement: “spooky things happening at a distance.” Even spookier, yet cerebral, is Joshua Mosley's International, featureing a hypothetical conversation between Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek and Brown & Root founder George Brown, based entirely on quotes, with a minimalist soundtrack by Mosley. Rarely has the rape of the environment by the profit motive been presented with such poetic circumspection. Curated by Dan Rule, these among others provide a colorful sampling of some of the more intriguing experimental animations being made in the world today.

Landscapes are an ancient genre dating back to Europe's stone age cave paintings, but Miro Hoffman's canvases reflect more current and local concerns. Referencing both urban farming and art history, they suggest that what we call “sense of place” results from a fusion of aspiration, aesthetics and nature. For instance, Veggi Farms III depicts a community garden designed to provide work for the Vietnamese residents of New Orleans East affected by the BP oil spill. Sparkling with crisp forms and colors, it whimsically exudes the aspirations of the garden's creators. Similar qualities appear in Press Street Gardens, where students learn to grow produce to be sold to local restaurants. Andi's Permaculture Garden, above left, a view of the artist's father's backyard, is more personal, but the scientifically and socially innovative tone of all of these scenes makes them very different from traditional landscapes. A recent artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, Hoffman is a deft colorist who uses a kind of abstract shorthand to create quasi-realistic landscapes that reflect the post-Katrina movement toward community oriented visual art. ~Bookhardt / Sustainable Development: Paintings by by Miro Hoffman, Through March 5th, 5 Press Gallery, 5 Press St., 940-2900; , Saturate: Recent Animations by National and International Artists, Through March 6, UNO St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave, 280-6493.