Sunday, March 24, 2019

And Another Thing: New Collage and Assemblage by 13 Artists Curated by Carole Leake

In a prose poem inspired by the late found object sculptor Joseph Cornell, poet Charles Simic wrote: "Somewhere in the city of New York there are four or five still-unknown objects that belong together. Once together they'll make a work of art." Cornell was a self-taught pioneer American surrealist who was also an erudite student of art history, so he was a natural bridge between outsider artists and the “official” art world of galleries, academies and museums. His ghost hangs over this “And Another Thing” collage and assemblage expo, but the net effect reflects Nola more than Cornell's New York or the surrealists' Paris, perhaps because so much of this recalls the altar-like arrays of objects that so often adorn mantels and end tables in local bohemian households.

Mary Gottschalk Moses' “Aftermath” assemblage of antique faucet handles, gas heater parts and lacy metal filigree suggests ancient Egyptian Masonic symbolism resuscitated from demolished house debris by a secret society of hermetic handymen. The holy cards, saint medallions, crystals and beads of Bonnie Bendzans' gothic reliquary, “Genuflect,” suggests the sacred artifacts of the Society of Ste. Anne marching krewe – but her “Crows Mourn their Dead” reliquary, with its stuffed raven perched on an antique scale, evokes a ghostly collaboration between Cornell and Edgar Allen Poe.

John Barnes returns us to the present via the plantation past in his “NFL Locker Room” -- a slave shack cum football locker room that is his sculptural commentary on the Colin Kaepernick controversy. Mitch Gaudet's “500 Points” assemblage, top, of cast glass toy soldiers, target ducks and a heart-shaped sheet metal bullseye is the  well known sculptor and former National Guard officer's stark commentary on the nostalgia of violence. Collage paintings by David Eddington and the late James Steg explore the surreal depths of flat surfaces, while an “Exquisite Corpse” collaborative work in the gallery's dungeon grotto rounds out a show that often suggests installation art on the part of curator Carole Leake: a 13 artist expo that comes across like a sprawling assemblage in its own right. ~Bookhardt / And Another Thing: Recent Colleges and Assemblages, Through April 6, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506.