THE VISUAL ART QUARTERLY OF ST. LOUIS
Amy Reidel, Sparkle Zero (detail), (image courtesy of the artist)
CONTENTS IN REVIEW (PGS. 01-09) EXECUTIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH
CREATIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER AMY REIDEL
DIRECTOR OF LAYOUT AND DESIGN MAXINE WARD
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD REILLY
WEB DESIGN AND ADMINISTRATION AMY MILLER
SOCIAL MEDIA AND OUTREACH MANAGER SEMILLA BLAND
CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS PACIA ANDERSON BABA BADJI ZACH BALOUSEK AZIZA BINTI JOHN BLAIR LISA BOBRYNZKI EILEEN CHEONG CON CHRISTESON CAROLYN DYESS JOHN DYESS FRANCIS FRIEL JACQUELINE FRITZ
DAVID GARIN JEREMY GOSS SUKANYA MANI AARON MCMULLIN AMY MILLER MOLLY MOOG DA'SHAWN OWENS PAULNA VALBRUN SUSAN BAWELL WEBER SARAH WEINMAN KEN WOOD
PRINT AND PROOF CONTRIBUTOR PAT CUSUMANO ADELIA PARKER
Front Cover: Eugenia Alexander, Kaleidescope Queen (detail), (photo credit: Amy Reidel) Back Cover: Eugenia Alexander, Brain Waves (detail), (photo credit: Amy Reidel)
Exhibition reviews provide documentation of the art events that hit our museums and galleries in recent months. In this issue, the “Our Fractured Geography” theme permeates the reviews section. David Garin’s description of Virginia Leguey-Feilleux’s paintings of the scenes observed by the late artist remind us of the iconic nature of early 20th century St. Louis brick houses. Aaron McMullin tracks an exhibition addressing social justice issues as this group exhibit morphs and moves from North County to St. Louis City to Alton, Illinois. Our reviewers report back from Edwardsville, Granite City, South Hampton and elsewhere as they help build the archive around art in our region!
ARTIST INTERVIEWS (PGS. 10-13) Daniel Ballesteros, Jill Downen, and Charles Schwall discuss their long-distance art relationships with St. Louis. Amy Miller scores an interview with Andréa Stanislav about her exhibition Convergence Infinité at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Sarah Weinman talks shop with furniture maker Pete Voss.
COMMUNITY VOICES (PGS. 14-17) Contributors checked in from multiple art enclaves in the St. Louis region. The development of new art scenes invigorates communities in Old North, Cherokee Neighborhood and Chesterfield. The artist enhanced MetroMarket farmers' market on wheels crosses some of those fracture lines that split our region.
COMMENTARY (PGS. 18-22) Aziza Binti recalls the pain and frustration Ferguson residents expressed as she photographed responses to the shooting of Mike Brown in August of 2014. Susan Weber reflects on the influence of German immigrants on St. Louis art collections. Francis Friel makes a case for seeing St. Louis as an up-and-coming print hub. Paulna Valbrun and Ken Wood tell stories of local artists impacting our region.
Richard Reilly, McKinley Bridge (image courtesy of the artist)
It is our mission to provide All the Art as a platform for coverage of conversation around and between our region's visual artists and art supporters. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learned, through engaging contributors, researching subjects and distributing this magazine, that artists and art venues located here encounter different opportunities and impediments depending upon where in the region they reside and work. Our fragmented landscape is divided by rivers, highways and invisible borders that have the potential to function as both detriment and nourisher. The availability of spaces for galleries to pop up and for artists to center international practices here has resulted in art enclaves scattered all over our region. In All the Art Summer 2016, artists and art writers examine the relationship between â&#x20AC;&#x153;Art and Our Fractured Geography.â&#x20AC;? We told potential contributors to consider the ways in which artists' studios, representing galleries or other art organizations' locations serve and hinder their goals.
What we got back was surprisingly celebratory. While it is true that parochial thinking sometimes keeps art collectors and art enthusiasts from exploring art zones on the other sides of their personal borders, this semi-permeable isolation can result in tight art communities. Those art domains are loosely bound by aesthetic, philosophical and socio-political principles. To be part of one of these art communities is to join something relevant and expressive and, to whatever extent such a thing is possible, unique. Next up on the All the Art theme scheme? In our Fall 2016 issue contributors will provide answers to the question, "Who are the people behind the artists?" Who helps the artist with the business end of their practices? With their taxes? With finding health care coverage? What do art conservators do? What do the museum guards have to say? Inquiring minds want to know!
All the Best!
Executive Editor and Co-Founder
Creative Editor and Co-Founder
PULITZER ARTS FOUNDATION
When you say – “This is an art exhibition about sensory experience,” suddenly the air in the room feels a certain temperature and scents waft from the people standing near. Pulitzer Arts Foundations’ Ellipsis Exhibit is described as eliciting sensory experience, and now aware of this, you will likely muster up some placebo art sensations of your own when you visit.
Hermes Griesbach: Katie says that these two objects in the entry are going to be replaced with other objects from the Pulitzer collection every two weeks.
All the Art’s Sarah Hermes Griesbach and Da’Shawn Owens (aka Shush Black) walked and wrote and pointed and sniffed through the Ellipsis exhibit, comparing notes as they went. Owens’ deafness and Griesbach’s ability to hear made for an often incongruous art experience. Here’s a bit of the written conversation between the two as they wandered the gallery with the Pulitzer’s Katie Hasler Peissig.
I like the dangerous, silk jacket paired with the golden [bronze] sculpture.
[In the entry gallery, looking at Doris Salcedo’s Disremembered V garment woven out of raw silk and nickel plated steel and Jean Arp’s bronze sculpture, Torso]
Owens: Is it a jacket? It looks fragile, but prickly. Can I touch it? (Peissig indicates no.) Ok. Are those silver lines needles?
Yes! The hard metal of the female figure is made to look like a soft, curved body. The garment is made of silk but looks dangerous with all of those little pins woven throughout. They are a great match. You can’t know, but it’s really loud in here. What do you mean?
Doris Salcedo, Disremembered (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
There is choral music coming from the main gallery space and it’s pulling me into that room. It sounds as if it’s live singing. [Standing in the middle of Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motem, an arrangement of 40 speakers on stands, each omitting it’s own individual part to the surrounding sound] May I touch the speakers? No? Ok. Look up. The reflection pool in the courtyard is reflected on the ceiling. Ah!! It’s movement is in synch with the singing that I hear. Our shadows are there, moving within the shadows of the shimmering water. Shadows are important to me. I often notice someone approaching only because I see their shadow. [Lower floor: Standing before Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Placebo-Landscape-for-Roni), the artist’s last and largest candy spill] It looks too perfect to disturb. Light appears to be coming from the gold wrappers. All stretched out, it makes me think of the Golden Fleece. [Tasting a candy] Not much of a smell. Orange. Ellipsis is open at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation through July 2. Gonzalez-Torres’ orange candy is replenished as visitors consume them, but the shadows along the ceiling are fleeting.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Placebo-Landscape-for-Roni), © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, (photo credit: Richard Reilly) 01 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
STUDIO OF ANDY CROSS
A two-day exhibition in a quiet corner of St. Louis celebrated fifty years of art-making by an artist whose range of work had been known only by family and friends. Virginia Leguey-Feilleux died at age 90 in November 2015. At her funeral, artist Bill Christman (of Joe’s Café and the Museum of Mirth, Mystery and Mayhem at the City Museum) mentioned that he’d recently seen her modernist paintings and been “blown away.” The neighbor he’d told passed on Christman’s words to artist and set designer Andy Cross, who had grown up on the same block as Leguey-Feilleux. Cross then offered his studio at 5947 Kingsbury for a retrospective exhibition. Forty-five canvases were hauled up from the basements and brought across the country from the late artist’s daughters’ homes. Crowds of people came to see nine elegant modernist paintings, reminiscent of Georges Braque, ten still lifes and, drawing the most attention by far, paintings of the many places Leguey-Feilleux had lived, the places that inspired her work, according to husband Jean-Robert: Morocco, Greenwich Village, Georgetown, and St. Louis.
Leguey-Feilleux recorded what she saw in front of her- a sinuous sailor stepping across a barroom floor in Casablanca; a pot-bellied stove and travelers bundled against the cold in an elevated train station in New York; African American workers across the street from the Leguey-Feilleux apartment in not-yet-trendy Georgetown – two laborers grabbing lunch at a construction site and, my favorite canvas, the back view of a cook on his break holding a lit cigar, alive with light and shadows. None of these chapters from Leguey-Feilleux’s life look like they were executed by the same hand. The Greenwich Village scenes were done in oils with thick strokes and a warm, autumnal palette. Georgetown spoke loudest to her in tones of blue and gray. And then St. Louis, the city where she and her husband raised their four daughters. This is the tight body of work that was familiar to her neighbors and to the folks who commissioned her to paint their homes and churches. Her St. Louis palette is lighter and brighter, her lines thinner, airy. Her soft-hued rendering of the city’s 1904 World’s Fair grounds is dreamlike and her
Virginia Leguey-Feilleux, (photo credits: John Montre)
pointillist painting of the College Church almost shimmers. Virginia Leguey-Feilleux portrayed her cities in an astonishing range of work, leaving a delightful gift to her friends, family and neighbors who only knew the extent of her talents at this first and only exhibition.
Virginia Leguey-Feilleux, (installation in studio of artist Andy Cross) ( photo credits: John Montre) IN REVIEW
SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 02
RECEIVE CALLS ON YOUR CELL PHONE FROM JAIL CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM ST. LOUIS
Mark Bradford, Practice (video stills), (courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York)
Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford understands the power of advertising. Painting price signs for his mother’s hair salon was one of his earliest artistic experiences.
create kind of a temporal map. You read them from left to right. You walk across them. There is a progression of time that mirrors the actual experience of incarceration.”
Today he scours chain link fences and walls around Los Angeles’s Leimert Park, a historically African-American neighborhood, looking for flyers—the kind that advertise bail bonds or promise “immigration papers in 30 days.” The artist has described these posters as “parasites” that prey upon the desperation of residents.
Bradford is the definition of an interdisciplinary artist. His work ranges from abstract painting and collage to video, sculpture, and public art interventions. An early video by Bradford, Practice from 2003, is also on view at CAM. In this humorous work, Bradford, an almost 6’8” black man, plays basketball alone on an outdoor court wearing a Lakers jersey with a matching antebellum-style hoop skirt. It is an extremely windy day and Bradford struggles to dribble the ball and shoot. However, despite the obstacle imposed by his constricting uniform, “in the end Mark always makes the shot…persevering in the face of challenges,” says Uslip. Bradford’s sexuality (the artist is gay) is often overlooked by critics in favor of interpretations placing his work within discussions of black identity. The Lakers jersey and the basketball, multivalent symbols, represent the phenomenal success of some black athletes, but also present a limited and stereotyped view of black culture. However, Practice, in which, as Bradford says, he plays “Kobe…flouncing around in a Laker dress” also points beyond these readings to the constriction of gender norms and the struggles facing many “practicing” artists.
In his exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum, Bradford incorporates such “merchant posters” into Receive Calls on Your Cell Phone From Jail, a grid of thirty-eight paintings on the museum’s project wall. Bradford affixed the posters to canvas and transformed them through collage (gluing papers together), décollage (tearing them away), painting, and sanding through layers with a power blaster. On each painting, rows of text in white-outlined block letters repeat across black, white, and gray backgrounds. The artist ripped away large swaths of poster, leaving jagged holes that reveal the underlying canvas. This seemingly interminable spread of monochrome canvases presents a somber contrast to Bradford’s typical painterly compositions, characterized by gestural brushstrokes à la Jackson Pollock or colorful grid compositions resembling street maps. The exhibition title comes from the text repeated on the posters: “receive calls on your cell phone from jail” and “save up to 70%,” followed by sequences of phone numbers. Originally these posters advertised phone services to inmates isolated by incarceration from friends and relatives. In many states, collect calls from prisoners are either illegal or exorbitantly expensive for the recipient due to added charges (jails sometimes get a cut of the proceeds).
Mark Bradford, Receive Calls On Your Cell Phone From Jail (detail), (courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York) 03 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
In Receive Calls on your Cell Phone from Jail, Mark Bradford abstracts the materials, language, and environments of contemporary urban life, mapping them onto a larger scale with equally large implications. Mark Bradford: Receive Calls on your Cell Phone from Jail is on view through August 14, 2016 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
Incessantly repeated, the phrase “receive calls on your cell phone from jail” is transformed from an advertising refrain to a desperately reiterated plea, signifying the very lack of communication between prisoners and the outside world. According to the exhibition’s curator Jeffrey Uslip, “together [the paintings] * www.camstl.org IN REVIEW
Curated by J.E. Baker at the Granite City Art and Design District, Make Your Mother showcases several works centered on the theme of maternal relationships. These relationships are often complicated by the stresses of aging, generational differences and the divisive nature of individual identities. The works span performance, video, photography, installation and sculpture. Consistent throughout is a reflection on mortality, as several artists come to grips with the reversal of caretaking roles between mother and child as the aging process ensues. Karol Shewmaker’s artist book, A Year or So, best exemplifies this shift in roles. The book is a visual and written documentation charting roughly a year immediately following the death of the artist’s father and her prompt move to her family home to assist her aging mother. The work is deeply poetic, as images taken every day outside the backyard window accompany a casual conversation between the artist and her mother. The spacing of photograph and text mimic the ebb and flow of daily life within the home while also hinting at the slow, inevitable approach of death.
a blind contour drawing of each participant that soon joins others on the wall. That moment of fragility as personal history is exchanged between two strangers is then translated to the individual’s unique portrait, offering a brief glimpse into a personal history and a formulated identity. In a slightly more playful but still sincere demonstration of maternal awareness is Catalina Ouyang’s glossy pink Bumpy Plank (Girl Against Whites). The large pink slab featured on GCADD’s Launchpad is both a meditation on Ouyang’s personal and artistic identity as well as the generational and cultural divide between mother and daughter. Bumpy Plank (Girl Against Whites), is a direct reference to the famed white male artist John McCracken’s highly polished, monochrome, polyester resin, fiberglass-coated planks such as Think Pink (1967). Ouyang’s rendition is intentionally less geometrically sound, a slight upwards curve on the top right corner pokes fun at a historically all white male canon while still acknowledging her love for the artist’s work. This tension seems to be a common thread for the artist. Embedded within
INSURANCE AT G-CADD
Ouyang’s pink monolith is a text message from the artist’s mother. It reads, “You are girl against whites, but love white boys. You make me confused.” Ouyang, a second generation born Chinese-American, must navigate the limbo space between two vastly different cultural identities. She is forced to reconcile her “love for white boys” while also enduring the fetishization of “other” as an Asian-American female. Maternal genealogy and third culture heritage shape Ouyang’s role as both an individual and a maker. Make Your Mother reminds us that mother-child-relationships are complex and often tenuous at best. They shape who we are and, in turn, how we view and interact with our external world. The works in the exhibition touch upon deeply sensitive, but universally human subject matter.
Nic King Ruley’s installation piece, Mrs. Sibly, PA, b. 1951, also touches upon themes of mortality through a reference to both absence and prescence. An IV Stand on a flat bed of sod holds up two IV bags, both filled with the artist’s mother’s urine, a pump siphoning the yellow liquid back and forth between the two. A video of the artist’s ailing mother is coupled with the sound of her heartbeat, which echoes throughout the gallery space. While the installation is both cold and clinical in appearance, referencing the mortality of the artist’s mother, the reverberation of heartbeat and pumping of liquid give the piece a life of its own. This second life, however, is limited, and is one that could never fully encapsulate the actual presence of Ruley’s mother. Lauren Cardenas’ “prints”, Mattress (I Fall to Pieces) and Pillow (I Fall to Pieces), composed of two separate pieces of Japanese Masa paper, both placed under the artist’s mother as she slept, reveal faint traces of coffee, chocolate, saliva, sweat, cigarette smoke, Capri Menthol 100’s ash, Lysol, and dry skin. Each individual residue suggests a specific story, a history, a complication of identity, but one that is ultimately impossible to fully apprehend. Caitlin Metz’s Tell me a story about your mother, is a performance piece of gallery visitors telling their story as the artist performs
Nic King Ruley, Mrs. Sibly, PA, b. 1951 (detail), (photo credit: J.E. Baker) IN REVIEW
SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 04
MAKE YOUR MOTHER
DOCUMENT V THE
How can we visually and materially illuminate the activity imbedded in a transient, dynamic archive? The Document V exhibition at The Luminary strove to confront this question by considering an evolution of thought and form, while acknowledging and (re)presenting the momentum of disparate creative communities pushing boundaries as artists and institutions. The exhibition and forthcoming book serve as an official record of Temporary Art Review, an online publication co-founded in 2011 by Sarrita Hunn and James McAnally. Since its inception, it has provided a virtual platform for critical discussion, engaging with more than 200 writers and editors to publish over 600 profiles, reviews, interviews and essays that focus on self-organized and artist-centered spaces. Temporary Art Review decentralizes the discourse about contemporary practice by emphasizing contextual considerations of art across the United States and beyond.
LUMINARY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
headstones. The works are a direct reference of Joseph Beuys' 1965 performance action How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. A standing black FedEx crate exposed its contents: an empty black folding chair with some measly oranges scattered about its legs. Illuminated from the top by a light diffuser coupling as breathing holes, Crate for Shipping Myself In by Colin Alexander reflects on a 1964 “spectacle.” Unable to afford his airline ticket, an Australian athlete shipped himself across the world to get home, spending 63 hours in a slatted box without food or water. Visitors could continue their experience, physically or virtually, in various “off-site” formats:
- Signal Fire's Reading in Place: Unwalking the West, was a site-specific hike and reading of This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land: People and Public Lands by Carolyn Finney at the Lewis & Clark Trail in Spanish Lake. - Anxious to Make's They Paid Me to Give You a Tour of the Internet consisted of a Net Art Intervention that disrupted the online experience of perusing temporaryartreview.com. - Nihaal Faizal's Horizontally Flipped Andromeda Galaxy offered a downloadable desktop image of an horizontally flipped iteration of the iconic Mac OS X Lion Andromeda Galaxy background, less the galaxy itself for added aesthetic appeal.
* www.temporaryartreview.com www.theluminaryarts.com
I nabbed a parking spot with a direct viewpoint of Matthew Kerkof's outdoor installation, It's Gettin' Hot in Hurr, That's All I Know (Car, Flags, Wall) and (Racks - Father, Son), presented by Good Weather. The black and white striped graffiti swallowed a cornerful of car, two out-of-reach clothing racks suspending several outfits, and three international flags hanging against converging exterior walls. Tucked behind the building, the juxtaposition of a zebra-patterned blanket overlaying the everyday objects of one's personal history gave the viewer a sense they had stumbled upon something familiar after traveling through a wormhole. Like an old garage sale of extraordinary objects, the scene was intimate, yet open for public snooping. In the midst of Kerkof's remaining totems and Paul Dreucke's rectangular relief, Time Is What Everyone Is Doing (paying homage to On Kawaras) sat Mike Calway-Fagen's The Progression of Regression, consisting of a taxidermied German Shephard pinning down an old wolf pelt, resting in the middle of the floor. The animal sitting calmly atop its flattened ancestor, peered out into oblivion, appearing to be waiting for something, perhaps a future version of itself, or simply its next meal. Both an inviting and intimidating presence, it was framed on either side by Steven Cottingham's Explaining Historical Materialism to a Dead Hare, two text drawings in black against a stark white wall whose shapes, reminiscent of either windows or Mike Calway-Fagen, The Progression of Regression, (photo credit: Richard Reilly) 05 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
IMMEDIACY OF DISTANCE BRUNO DAVID GALLERY
William Morris' Immediacy of Distance is an exciting blend of family films, oral reflection, and music creating a partial view of African American life. The subject matter of Morris' work is an exploration of his maternal family's origins in Mississippi, and Morris' own childhood in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood of North St. Louis in the 1970’s. The hermeneutical lens by which Morris interprets his work is through the concept of disconnection.
looks at the influence those southern roots had on the subsequent descendants of those African Americans that migrated from the South to St. Louis. This connection is suggested through Morris' choice of African American folk music to score his work, using blues and gospel to connect the African American migration from the deep south to Missouri. Hints of Morris' personal interest in avant garde music also subtly punctuate parts of the film.
His experimental documentary is primarily comprised of Super 8 family footage shot by his mother, Annie Bell Morris. Along with the film footage are audio recordings of his mom discussing her upbringing in the Mississippi Delta. Morris also incorporates film he shot during his trip to Mississippi in the early 2000’s. In describing his film, Morris contends, "It's mostly about the memories that the Super 8 footage bring back that I kind of shelved in the back of my head."
A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and Washington University, Morris has been producing video art since 1985. "I’ve always been interested in subjective (versus objective) reality. In looking back over many years of my video art work, I realized that I am often more interested in framing what is elided by subjects in their process of interpreting reality.... What people choose not to focus on. What ends up on the cutting floor of memory. Process is key to memory and obviously any interpretation of ‘reality,’ let alone its manipulation by filmic processes and editing."
The Super 8 footage Morris uses for this documentary was discovered in his mother's house after her passing in 2011 from Alzheimer's disease. His father had died in 1997. Morris sees the film as a visual demonstration of his love towards his parents and as a special tribute to his mother’s influence on him. He wanted to tell her story in a manner that would allow him to honor her life and to gain some sense of closure after her death. Morris notes, "I probably wouldn't be in video art if not for her having shot the film. She was an artist in that way whether she realized it or not. At the core of this piece is my relationship with her, with family, how great it is to be a Morris." Immediacy of Distance is an observation of black life in the 1970s - images of girls jumping rope in the streets, children chasing each other in the park, scenes of family reunions and people attending church. Morris observes, "On a larger scale [this film] shows a little bit of what African Americans were doing with their leisure time during the ‘70s. It offers a glimpse of what it was like growing up in a North Side neighborhood in St. Louis during that time." In as much as this film is about his maternal family of origin, it is also a glimpse of African American life in Mississippi from the perspective of a poor, sharecropping family. By implication, the documentary also casually
In approaching his new work in a manner akin to a traditional documentary, he found himself confronted with how to approach his mother's footage, "Because my background is abstract and experimental, I wanted to take a more serious turn down, a documentary style now, in addressing the material and that has made it difficult. I've never tried to make a documentary piece before." Consequently, he found himself at odds with how to edit it. He observes, "The process of editing is akin to a sculptor taking a mallet and a chisel to a large rock, because you've got something substantial before you begin editing and it doesn't reveal itself to you until you begin editing." Morris understands the editing process as a search for truth. The dilemma he faced was how truthful he wanted to be. He reflects that unlike his previous abstract work, his approach to this project required him to be personally more transparent, to share more of himself than previously. "You have to be more reverent about the material when it's family or something very close to you, close to your heart, and other people will be looking at it, and other people have their own memories of how things were."
William Morris, Immediacy of Distance (video stills), (courtesy of the artist and Bruno David Gallery)
-John Blair * www.brunodavidgallery.com IN REVIEW
SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 06
LEAP OF FAITH
As Onofrio literally tears her pieces to the bare bones she makes her work more abstract and less representational, losing the literal narrative and allowing the material to sing. The melodic and repetitive elements of Passage or the rhythmic and percussive qualities of Shift allude to some of these overarching ideas and laws that govern our natural realm.
Through the amber glow of the gallery, across the room hung a large mandala. Illuminated under spotlights, it emitted an ivory halo. The sensual curves and chiaroscuro of cast shadows on the walls lured viewers in as the identity of these layered organic forms became recognizable. Bones often conjure up more visceral and primal thoughts but these latest works by Judy Onofrio, shown at the Edwardsville Art Center (EAC), exude a certain elegance and intimacy that make them strangely enticing.
In the center of the gallery is a 3-ft. wide vessel floating above the floor titled Cauldron. It is made entirely out of ribs. The bones which once framed the life of a cow now give volume to an object about which there is something innately familiar. Onofrio’s impeccable craftsmanship, coupled with her uncanny ability to compose the material, give the illusion that this vessel may not have been built by hand at all but, rather, brought together by
EDWARDSVILLE ART CENTER
For over five decades, this Minnesota-based artist has captivated a wide audience with her mixed media and mosaic sculptures. The work in the EAC show, aptly named Leap of Faith, is precisely that for the artist. The monochro-
matic assemblages of bones are a stark contrast to the vibrant colors and eclectic assortments of materials that are synonymous with her past work. The figure and the concise narrative which play a significant role in her past work are mysteriously subdued, however, not abandoned. The sudden shift within her work comes at a transitional moment in her life as she had a brush with a serious illness a few years ago that caused her to, as expressed by Onofrio, “move beyond a specific narrative and reach toward a universal experience of beauty that speaks to the transitory nature of life.” The sculptural works in this exhibition captured exactly that as the bones no longer portray their deceased donor but take on a new identity.
Judy Onofrio, Leap of Faith (installation view), (courtesy of the Edwardsville Art Center) 07 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
TOUHILL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, VAUGHN CULTURAL CENTER, JACOBY ARTS CENTER
In early summer of 2015, Dance St. Louis executive director, Michael Uthoff, asked Freida L Wheaton to curate a visual arts exhibition to accompany New Dance Horizons IV: A Celebration inspired by St. Louis’ Legendary Black Artists at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Wheaton jumped at the opportunity.
Thurman, Annetta Vickers-Bentil, Joy Lalita Wade, and Darryl White. Using paper, canvas, and sculpture, these artists created 27 large-scale works that emulate resilience and defiance, speaking both to pain experienced and the strength to carry on and build a better future.
Dance St. Louis’s program New Dance Horizons pairs nationally renowned choreographers with local professional dance companies to create unique world premieres. This year’s choreographers Bebe Miller, Dianne McIntyre, and Robert Moses were tasked with celebrating local legacies such as Maya Angelou and Miles Davis. The performances both celebrated the rich history of St. Louis African American culture and addressed contemporary social justice issues that the killing of Michael Brown brought to the surface locally, nationally, and globally.
Something Wheaton didn’t anticipate from the outset of this collaboration was that this exhibit would live on after the two-day show at the Touhill. The artists involved put a tremendous amount of thought and time towards creating their statements and for these pieces to be seen by the public for two short days felt like a missed opportunity. It was only natural for Wheaton to move the exhibit to the Vaughn Cultural Center, where Wheaton is the director and curator.
As she began to formulate the exhibit, Wheaton knew that scale was going to be an important factor. “…The space [at the Touhill] is so voluminous. So I started thinking about artists who I have a great amount of confidence in who could do work on a large scale and who could also translate the theme of social justice into great artwork.” The exhibition that materialized, Visualizing Life: Social Justice in Real Time, brought together the work of 16 local artists: Howard Berry, Jenna Bauer, Cbabi Bayoc, Sami Bentil, Stajah Curry, Lenard Hinds, Daniel Jefferson, Gundia Lock’Clay, Is’Mima Nebt’Kata, P31 The Artist, Thomas Sleet, Krystal Sutton, Solomon
Howard Barry, Forget Me Not (photo credit: Adelia Parker)
And it’s not just Wheaton who is committed to extending the public’s access to these works of art. People are coming to her and asking her to bring the exhibit to their communities. The Jacoby Arts Center of Alton, Illinois has invited Wheaton to include a selection of these works in an upcoming exhibit Social Justice: Both Sides of the River. The show will also feature a selection of works from Christine Ilewskis’ Faces not Forgotten project, as well as some pieces from Illinois-based artists. Social Justice: Both Sides of the River will be on view at the Jacoby from July 1 – August 6, 2016.
Joy L. Wade, The Bullet, (photo credit: Adelia Parker) IN REVIEW
It’s clear that the greater St. Louis community is thirsty for art that extends and elevates the social justice conversations that erupted in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. As the Visualizing Life: Social Justice in Real Time body of work moves from venue to venue, the exhibit shifts depending on the physical space of each venue and the desires and needs of the hosting communities. Art can be site-specific and in many cases can speak to broader themes that span across time and space. This work is both. While this exhibit is sure to continue to engage communities in much needed conversations about racism and resiliency, about privilege and power, about pain and healing, it has the potential to do much more. Perhaps as this exhibit moves from venue to venue, across geographical divides, the artwork will begin to build bridges.
* www.touhillpac.umsl.edu www.ulstl.com/vaughn-cultural-center www.jacobyartscenter.org
Howard Barry, From the Ashes (photo credit: Adelia Parker) SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 08
ST. LOUIS SOCIAL JUSTICE
EVOLVING ARCHETYPES When asked to describe her first solo exhibition, Evolving Archetypes, Eugenia Alexander is resolute in her response. “It’s a clear definition of my work and who I am as an artist,” she said. “This show is a pure reflection of me as a person.” Alexander is the first Black woman artist to hold a solo exhibition at SOHA Gallery, a
South Hampton neighborhood gallery founded by visual artist Julie Malone in 2011. “I have pieces in the show from when I first discovered my line making signature to current work that I made specifically for the show.” Alexander’s signature style is a synergy between pattern and color and the making of bold statements with clean lines. According to the gallery website, “Eugenia’s work boldly
unfurls to an almost ancient, tribal-like tapestry. Her signature repetitive and mesmerizing mark-making guides the viewer through ever-changing patterns and demands attention…” Alexander’s Kaleidoscope Queen, is a mélange of color and precision; something akin to a hypnotic and orderly tangle of shadow and shape. The image carries movement in its composition, seeming to vibrate and pulse with its bold triangles presented in crisp, straight lines over a glowing intensity of neon colors. The eight-paneled Past Life with its deep ocean-floor blue seeding a golden disk in its center is equally powerful. Alexander’s geometry, more subtle now in this placement, accents portions of each panel, elemental and concise. One can see the correlation between the artist’s style, which she has coined “geometric storytelling,” and the influences from which she draws. She references both her master quilter (and fine artist) grandmother, Edna Patterson-Petty, and geometric abstractionist painter Frank Stella. “Inspiration came from my grandmother, from African pattern and textile designs and Native American textiles. I love pattern and textile work, and one day I hope to actually work with textile prints printing my own fabric.” For now, however, Alexander prints on fabric in the traditional way: using acrylic paints and blocks of wood, building frames and stretching canvas to tell stories through paint, as she has been doing for the past 12 years. “The stories I make up for the paintings are either stories of real life situations or stories that I make up from my own wild imagination,” she said. “I like to connect with my viewer in some type of way and stories really help with connecting. Everyone loves a good story.” From the success of her first well-attended opening, it’s no doubt that St. Louis will love bearing witness to the unfolding of Eugenia Alexander’s evolving story for years to come.
Eugenia Alexander, Evolution (photo credit: Amy Reidel) 09 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
* www.sohastudioandgallery.com IN REVIEW
REFLECTIONS ON ST. LOUIS AND THE NATURE OF EMPIRE Conversation between Andréa Stanislav and Amy Miller I met Andréa Stanislav in the Saint Louis Art Museum, where her exhibition Convergence Infinité is on view through June 19. In the gallery, four aerial photographs of the Mississippi River printed on mirror-polished stainless steel surround two large abstract mirrored sculptures (Apogee 1969 and Apogee 1200). Between them hangs a chrome-plated horse skull suspended over an acrylic cuboid filled with river water. The space is bracketed by a four-channel video, Converger. The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Andréa Stanislav: It really started with thinking about the Mississippi River as the origin for human convergence and convergence in the natural world. I was looking at a past civilization that’s still an unknown, Cahokia, and an icon of American empire, the Gateway Arch. Apogee 1969 is my iteration of a fractured piece of the Arch. It has the three sides, but it’s cut, it’s morphed. Apogee 1200 is an abstracted form of the Monks Mound. The other components exist around these two anchoring points. At the center is Mississippi River water taken at the confluence. One of the first ideas I had was to create a nodal point, to bring outside ideas and events into the gallery. The water was the way I had that happen, and the horse skull above references the equestrian sculpture outside [The Apotheosis of St. Louis]. The river motif is also echoed in the photographic prints. I was referring to the unnatural—or seemingly unnatural—event when the Mississippi ran backwards in 1812. AM: What caused that?
Andréa Stanislav, Convergence Infinite installation view, (courtesy of the artist and the Saint Louis Art Museum)
AS: An earthquake. It actually happens more often than one might think. For me one of the fascinating things about the river is how it’s changed it’s course over time, grown, gotten smaller. It’s this ever-shifting and ever-transforming body of water. AM: Tell me about the video. AS: The video is the surrounding connector, and it’s reflected in the sculptures. We flew drones all the way up and down the Mississippi River and then to Forest Park, using the Museum as a convergence point. It wasn't about surveillance, but bird-like movement. Birds are witnesses. They see St. Louis as it is. In the east video the drone rises up from the Birdman Mound and flies through the Arch and into Forest Park. The landscape is in winter, but for a moment you see the Arch in bright spring-like colors and it's a blast in time to when it was new. The west flight starts at the Old Stone Meeting House in Frontenac. It was one of the largest Underground Railroad locations and there's a large slave graveyard there. But when the drone rises you come out of this graveyard into a very affluent white community. It's a landscape of a hundred swimming pools. So there's quite a duality there. AM: In addition to the visual elements, the exhibition includes audio. How did that develop?
Andréa Stanislav, Convergence Infinite installation view, (courtesy of the artist and the Saint Louis Art Museum)
AS: The sounds are part of the conceptual narrative. When I was outside at the Mississippi River I was listening to a lot of bird calls and almost immediately knew that I wanted to use ARTIST INTERVIEWS
Miles Davis, the later, weaker, very minimal Miles Davis. He was born in Illinois and grew up in St. Louis, but when his trumpet came into my head I wasn't thinking about that. It was very serendipitous. The other sampling is Olivier Messiaen's bird songs. He was a French minimalist composer who used a lot of dissonant tones. AM: What drew you to St. Louis? AS: My interest in sculpture began when I visited the Arch when I was 3 or 4. I’ll never forget that experience. My family would come down from Chicago and go on geode-hunting trips in riverbeds in the area. I also remember coming to the Saint Louis Art Museum. I’ve been carrying around a postcard of a painting of St. Francis of Assisi with a skull [Francisco de Zurbarán, St. Francis Contemplating a Skull, c.1635] my entire life that I always put up in my studios. I didn’t know where it was from until I came back and saw the painting here. American history was another draw for me. I work quite a bit with empire and Manifest Destiny, and St. Louis is ground zero for that. The Gateway Arch is a symbol of Manifest Destiny. So even though it’s omnipresent, I still used it. It’s one of those things, do you do that or not? And it’s like, yes, I’m going to use it.
* www.slam.org SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 10
Amy Miller: Could you give me an overview of the exhibition?
KANSAS CITY – ST. LOUIS ART COMMUTE Jill Downen and Charles Schwall are visual artists who have lived and worked in the St. Louis and Kansas City regions. Jill is an installation sculptor and assistant professor at the Kansas City Art Institute. Charles, her husband, is a painter and arts educator. They are represented by the Bruno David Gallery. All the Art recently interviewed them about the opportunities and challenges that come from being artists with strong ties to Missouri's largest cities.
AtA: How do you manage the aspects of maintaining your art practice in two cities?
City, I drove 25 round trips across the state of Missouri within a one year period. Jill was living there, and I was still here in St. Louis. Circumstances were such that we had to live apart for over a year. But it was a time of huge growth and reward, too. I was going to art openings in both cities and I could feel the energy of the art communities in each of the cities. All of this experience is very present in my recent paintings because I'm working with elements being torn apart and then seamed back together in new ways. The paintings are about changing from one condition into another, transitioning to somewhere new.
Jill Downen: We have very deep roots in both cities. We began our careers in Kansas City over 25 years ago. It was where we met and went to college.
AtA: Do you feel differently about St. Louis now that you come for purposeful visits rather than reside daily here? What have you gained from your "outsider" position?
Charles Schwall: Then we moved to St. Louis in the late 1980's. We maintained our studio practices, exhibited, earned our MFA degrees from Washington University, and taught in St. Louis for over two decades. JD: So, our roots were in Kansas City, but we formed our careers in St. Louis. It happened slowly over time.
JD: I come back to St. Louis about five or six times per year now, for art and education purposes. When I'm in St. Louis, I don't feel as if I have an outsider’s perspective. I look forward to going to the galleries and museums to see what's new and what has changed, but I know the city so intimately that I always feel at home. When I think about Kansas City and St. Louis, I feel as if there is a part of me in each city.
CS: In 2012, we moved back to Kansas City; since we live and work there now, I really don't feel as if we left St. Louis behind. Our mindset now is that we actively participate in the art communities of both cities.
CS: Now, I feel established in both Kansas City and St. Louis, although I was recently at a hardware store in Kansas City and the sales person jokingly wouldn’t help me until I took off the Cardinals hat.
JD: We work to maintain our connections and relationships in both cities. My recent solo exhibition at Bruno David Gallery, As If You Are Here, brought me to St. Louis three times this winter. During those visits, I valued time with colleagues and family
* www.jilldownen.com www.charlesschwall.com
Jill Downen, Upstairs detail (courtesy of the artist and Bruno David Gallery)
Charles Schwall, Cowrie Necklace I, (courtesy of the artist and Bruno David Gallery)
AtA: How has working in St. Louis and Kansas City influenced your respective art practices? JD: Both cities have a human scale in their architecture and spatial feeling of openness, characteristics that are of value in my art work. Sites such as the St. Louis Arch, the Pulitzer, and Nelson-Atkins Bloch Building have influenced my understanding of elegance in design. In contrast, both cities have areas of neglect, decay and tension. Construction, destruction and restoration are themes in my art that I also see in the built environment. CS: For me, the connection is conceptual. My paintings are about systems, and ways that separate entities can interact and transform one another. During our recent move to Kansas 11 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
Jill Downen, As If You Are Here, installation view, (courtesy of the artist and Bruno David Gallery) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
BROOKLYN TO ST. LOUIS WITH LOVE
Daniel Ballesteros: Living away has given me the opportunity to see the uniqueness of St. Louis: the intricate brick designs in the old architecture, the cultures that developed from its German, Italian, and Polish immigrants, and the segregation that came from its history as a Mississippi hub for slave trade. These are all things I was able to see clearer with the perspective of time and distance. This clarity has led to more socially conscious work. I’ve started a new project in response to a handful of articles about violence in St. Louis called Homicide Trees. I use online crime maps to navigate the city and make landscape pictures at the intersections where homicides have taken place. The combination of these to incongruent elements asks the viewer to think about media depictions of violence in a different way. All the Art: How does your position in the region (or lack thereof) define/inform/impact/obstruct your art production?
DB: I think that no matter where I ended up, I probably would have had the same drive to achieve. My role models growing up preached hard work and gratitude. My grandparents, parents and sister all worked their butts off, and that became part of my character as well. That and being a coach’s son. I'm conditioned to feel really crappy if I'm not fulfilling my art time quota. In terms of my identity, I try to perpetuate Midwest stereotypes of kindness and helpfulness, but I've had to wrestle with the martyr complex provided by fourteen years of Catholic schooling. Being a successful artist often means having the ability to court attention and that's something I'm always working on.
AtA: What do you think is one of your more successful images? DB: One of my favorite photographs I’ve made in St. Louis is a picture of my parents several years ago. They are at the bottom of their back porch steps in south city, my dad's in his work clothes, and my mom has her red shirt on (no doubt, in support of the Cardinals). Behind my dad is a smoking charcoal chimney in a grill pit. It says so much of who they are and the environment I grew up in.
Daniel Ballesteros utilizes multiple photographic processes to record the temporal nature of time on personal experience and place. Ranging from historical wet-plate collodion and film to contemporary digital and cellphone photographs, Ballesteros attempts to capture the intangibility of human memory while confronting the concrete alterations of time’s effect on a place, specifically his hometown of St. Louis and his current location in Brooklyn, NY. All the Art asked Daniel about living “away,” his driving forces and St. Louis subject matter.
Daniel Ballesteros, Homicide Tree No. 10, Bedford Ave., (courtesy of the artist)
Daniel Ballesteros, Don and Terri, 2009, (courtesy of the artist)
Daniel Ballesteros, St. Louis no. 170, Bevo Mill, (courtesy of the artist) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 12
BEAUTIFUL, PRACTICAL AND LOCAL
Sarah Weinman and Pete Voss speak on his handmade, locally sourced furniture
If you’re looking for the intersection of beauty and design in furniture, look no further than Voss Furniture Builders. Owner and designer Pete Voss creates handmade, unique pieces from local materials.
sideboard. If I have a long piece of wood I want to highlight, I’ll make a long, low sideboard.
PV: There aren’t too many furniture-builders around, although that’s changing.
PV: I’ll make changes as I make the piece. Sometimes it changes dramatically between the drawing and the finished object.
His selection of wood and use of traditional techniques also sets his business apart from other, larger furniture stores. The popularity of handmade pieces in St. Louis is growing, despite the presence of companies which sell factory-made goods.
PV: Places like Ikea won’t affect my business because the markets are different. There’s been a shift away from traditional furniture. People want quality and functionality. Voss’ passion for furniture design and construction began when he was in college and built his own bedroom furniture and cabinets. When he graduated in the late 1970s, his sister and brother-in-law started a business in St. Louis called Good Stuff which sold contemporary furniture imported from Europe. Voss worked there for 10 years. Fifteen years ago he opened a store where he sold his handmade furniture, but that was a hobby until Voss Furniture opened in 2013.
He then sketches ideas, and finally creates the item itself.
It takes about three weeks to go from the design stage to the finished product. Voss keeps a book of furniture ideas he wants to make as soon as he finds the right wood. PV: Usually I build what calls to me. I build commissioned pieces too, which comprise 30% of my work. More and more people request commissioned pieces. In addition to wood, Voss places great importance on proper tools. PV: I use only hand tools, such as hand planes, card scrapers, and chisels, because you have more control. And I try to use sustainable materials as much as I can.
of George Nakashima, a 20th-century American furniture designer. Viewers can see Art Deco, modernist, and Asian elements in Voss’ work. Voss constructs his furniture while keeping in mind the possibility of future repairs. If there’s a problem, owners can take apart the object, fix the issue, then reassemble the components. PV: I normally don’t use nails. I glue most joints, or attach two parts with wooden dowel rods. Today’s mass-produced furniture isn’t meant to be taken apart and repaired. If something breaks you have to throw it away. I don’t want anything of mine to end up in the landfill. He also considers the way wood ages and responds to environmental factors. PV: Wood moves throughout its life. It responds to moisture and humidity. That’s why you see old furniture with cracks. And wood changes color over time as it ages. Each piece of wood is as unique as a human being.
Many of Voss’ pieces are so different that they could easily have come from different designers. His favorite Art Deco designer is Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, who worked in France in the 1920s, and he admires the work * www.vossfurniturebuilders.com
PV: I finally felt like I got good enough to do this full-time and quit my day job. Voss highly values locally sourced lumber and reclaimed wood. He uses American hardwoods such as cherry, maple, walnut, ash, and birch because of their stability in the Midwest climate. The designer buys most of his lumber from the Lewis and Clark Sawmill in Alton. PV: If you bring in an exotic wood from a different climate, it can be unstable. Also, sustainability is a factor. I don’t know if any foreign woods come from responsibly managed forests. Reclaimed wood makes up 15-20% of my stock and comes from American Timber Salvage on South Broadway. I use it in special requests from customers, or sometimes in my own projects. Most customers want reclaimed wood today. Voss first chooses specific pieces of wood, then decides what to make. PV: If I already have a lot of tables, I’ll make a 13 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
Pete Voss, Martini Time Console Cabinet, (image courtesy of the artist) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
THE HIDDEN GRACE OF ST. LOUIS
By Baba Badji
The Clothesline is described by its organizers as “a monthly installation where artists intersect to transform a space for one night only.” My experience of this art happening ocurred at Blank Space on 2847 Cherokee Street. If you have not been to Blank Space yet, you are missing out on the mysteries of St. Louis. Blank Space is the most vibrant place I have been to so far in St. Louis. It is a hidden grace that gives you a taste of fabled St. Louis. It is so alive that if you are not careful, you’ll find yourself in insightful conversations with the
Blank Space Exterior (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
gifted, the dexterous, the prodigies, and the humble minds of St. Louis. It is a place Mark Twain might frequent, were he to escape time’s trap. It is the heart of St. Louis’s vibrant art community where art is bestowed for art’s sake. There is a renaissance happening here, helping to heal this historic city from its past and present strains. On March 5, I went to the Clothesline’s affair, which was happening at Blank Space, to discover the work of Jessica Lynne Brown. On our first meeting, Brown showed me drafts of her work. Her drawing and word compositions are so abstractly poetic that I cannot easily find words to describe what she is after. She writes, “all these different angles making up one big picture which beyond the fingertips want to move / moving / is wanting to / for freedom.” How to be free is in the center of Brown’s art, so is our distressed St. Louis.
She provides a candid voice of perturbed St. Louis: “I am really fragmented and lost at times…thoughts… resulting in often cryptic…backwards misplaced speech,” she declares. This confession is unsettling, but it’s a prophecy of a better world, which means for Brown, creating and knowing that to maintain patience in our world requires courage, hope and honesty. Brown recognizes her vulnerability in her search for freedom. She knows that her strength as a “builder” is a kind of spiritual storytelling and she appreciates that bearing witness to the truth of her and our struggles are the results of her artistic investigation. With great tenderness, Brown pays close attention to our fears in St. Louis and elsewhere. With sensitivity, her Bare asks us to move away from fear, and walk together toward freedom. With simple language, Bare tugs our minds and asks us to follow Brown into those narrow intersections, avenues, alleyways, and spaces of restless St. Louis, where we are enveloped with silence because we are not yet free.
Bare is the name of Brown’s project. Her meaning-laden sketches, with their nimble precision, offer something few ever uncover.
RE-EDUCATION REVIVAL IN OLD NORTH In a small gallery within the unassuming doors of the Old North Restoration Group curator Vaughn Davis organized Womyn Abstracted. This exhibition contained a visual syntax of poetic realism, marrying the historic journey of the artists of the Harlem Renaissance with the on-going journey of young contemporary artists creating alongside each other in St. Louis. These Webster University artists’ messages about the Black Experience are as varied as they are cohesive- weaving a multi-layered dialogue of rich, colorful algorithms that translate heritage, customs, reflections on race and body awareness. They employed digital illustration, mixed-media sculpture, printmaking, photography and painting to deliver an honest narrative. The art is unrelenting in its vulnerability and raw strength. Maxine du Maine’s digital prints of black life are so authentic as to seem instantly iconic with a built in nostalgia similar to what one feels when looking at Norman Rockwell's images. Amanda Miller also worked with photography, presenting a series of details of a black figure
bound by wire. The content of the exhibit was deeply personal and boldly unapologetic. If art serves as a sign of changes impacting American culture, then this work is indicative of the contributions that black artists are giving to enrich American identity, devising revisions that school us on what we thought we knew. The exhibit opened as a part of the First Friday Art Walk organized by ArtZe only last fall, a monthly art event that is increasingly attended each month, a significant accomplishment for one of the few art events that take place North of Delmar and that are dominated by people of color. The First Friday Art Walk in Old North includes spoken word performances, live art, DJs and late hours at multiple galleries up and down 14th Street. We could be witnessing a new Renaissance. Vaughn agrees as he considers the inspiring energy of the young cohort he enjoys working beside. Their work is poised to re-educate the public and push us toward the Next.
* www.onsl.org COMMUNITY VOICES
Old North Restoration Group Exterior, (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
Old North Restoration Group Exterior, (photo credit: Richard Reilly) SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 14
By Eileen Cheong
EUREKA! A COUPLED ART COMBO FINDS SHARED SPACE By John and Carolyn Dyess Husband and wife artists, John and Carolyn Dyess, called their Spring exhibition at the Gallery of Contemporary Art on the campus of St. Louis Community College Wildwood, Shared Space.
The gallery is new as of September 2015. Gallery Director Mark Weber describes the creation and function of the gallery, “Art enhances the quality of any open space and we’re excited to add to our existing collection of artwork at STLCC-Wildwood. In addition to providing students with a visual learning environment, the gallery offers community members an opportunity to view works of art created by professional and student artists.”
The artist couple shares workspace in their home studio in Eureka, Mo. They intended to build into their installation something of the feeling of their home, interspersing work from each throughout the gallery space.
John Dyess is a working and teaching illustrator. His paintings represented in this exhibition are drawn from a series of photographs he took in New York City. He manipulates, enhances and prints the images onto canvas before painting over them.
Carolyn Dyess, Profusion 1 (courtesy of the artist)
Carolyn Dyess is a graphic designer and educator. She began working in fiber and fabric a few years ago. She refers to her contributions to the exhibition as “fabric arrangements” or “fabrications.” Some are similar to small art quilts, with stuffed, trapunto-like areas.
John Dyess, New York City Bridges, (courtesy of the artist)
* www.studiodyess.net www.stlcc.edu/ww
REPORT FROM THE CITY OF CHESTERFIELD By Lisa Bobrynzki COMMUNITY VOICES
Art surrounds us everywhere in many different forms, and the City of Chesterfield wants all of us to take time to appreciate it. In 2015, the Parks & Recreation Division added Arts in an effort to expand the public’s education and participation in art to accurately reflect the diverse nature of Chesterfield’s population, history and growth. One feature of the initiative was to encourage the movement of artists and art patrons from across the region, to break the I-270 barrier and include Chesterfield in the arts conversations already taking place elsewhere. So often, artists dwell in isolated areas, limiting their exposure to new audiences. With this new arts program, Chesterfield can position itself as a place for artists to come to cultivate new audiences and showcase their work. This spring, the Live Art Project, featured 12 talented artists performing in front of guests who then had the opportunity to bid on what they had created through a silent auction. The event was free and open to all, and part of the proceeds supported the Chesterfield public art projects. In 2016, the Chesterfield Amphitheater will feature two free concert series; Art and 15 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
Orchestra which will showcase musical artists while visual artists create live art and the Sounds of Summer series which will showcase music from a variety of genres while artist Catharine Magel creates sculptures live. The Taste of St. Louis will return to Chesterfield this September accompanied by an outdoor art exhibition that will feature talented artists from around the region. The addition of live art in established events creates a symbiotic relationship between different mediums and engages a new audience to appreciate a variety of forms of art. Chesterfield’s other approach is to engage the entire city as a showcase for public art. Every three months, City Hall hosts a rotating art exhibit that is open to the public during regular business with opportunities to take art tours and a meet and greet at the artist’s reception to discuss the inspiration of the pieces with the artists directly. Chesterfield has also expanded the number of public art sculptures along its busy trails and parks in an effort to make art more accessible to the community so that the public may expand its awareness and understanding of art. COMMUNITY VOICES
Reinhard Herzog, Life Rings, (courtesy of the City of Chesterfield)
This effort to stimulate an interest in art is intentionally multi-generational. The Art in the Park Summer Workshops were created to encourage the community to experience art through different media at no cost, using the beautiful scenery of its parks as inspiration for creation. These classes will tie art with nature and educate the community that art can and should be intertwined into every aspect in the lives of residents and visitors.
BRIDGING OUR CONTINENTS
By Sukanya Mani
It’s Sunday afternoon - there is soulful 60‘s music playing in the background. I can hear brushes and knives scraping across the canvas. Sounds like a typical artist studio right? Only, in this case, the music consists of old Bollywood songs; there is hot piping chai in the midsession break and spicy samosas to go with it.
Let me introduce myself and my companions: We are Pratima Murali, Shilpa Rao and Sukanya Mani. We are three artists born in India. We each came to the United States and made a life for ourselves. None of us imagined that 15 years after settling in a new country, we would be able to create room in our lives for
our passion- Art. Our lives were wrapped in creating and nurturing our families and trying to find a way to fit into American society. We lived in St. Louis County, did not have access to artists’ studios and were stay-at-home moms. The divide between us and the art we all loved was geographical and cultural. One day, we had an idea to meet in each other’s homes every two weeks and dedicate a couple of hours to paint. We decided to make this a routine event. We would cook food, have tea (every event in India is preceded by tea!), play Indian music and paint. Our art routine has proven to be a very powerful and supportive space for each of us. We talk about our kids, give constructive criticism of each other’s work and before you know it, we have made successful progress on multiple pieces! In the process of trying to find a way to grow as artists, we used what was holding us back — those geographic and cultural obstacles — to create our own unique solution.
METROMARKET ARTISTS’ EFFORTS FOR FOOD JUSTICE St. Louis is popping with community investment projects. Some serious innovation is happening in the Gateway City. And almost every project worth its salt involves artists. The St. Louis MetroMarket project is a non-profit mobile farmers’ market that works to restore access to healthy foods in St. Louis area food deserts. With the help of local artists - David Stavron, Noah MacMillian, and De Nichols - the MetroMarket team was able to transform a donated 40-foot city bus into a grocery store on wheels to bridge physical, financial, and educational barriers in food deserts in order to have the greatest potential towards increasing the supply and demand for healthy foods in these communities. Jeremy Goss describes the contribution of artists on St. Louis MetroMarket project: St. Louis MetroMarket interior, (courtesy of Jeremy Goss) COMMUNITY VOICES
SUMMER 2016 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 16
Sukanya Mani, On the Go; Shilpa Rao, Light Within; Pratima Murali, Hardship (courtesy of the artists)
We borrowed talent from three St. Louis-based artists to transform a city bus into a grocery-store-on-wheels, and the result is moving art. De Nichols designed our logo, brand messaging, and signage. She understood that we are putting healthy food back on the map in these low-income, high-need communities and developed a clever logo for us that we call the turnip marker; the turnip marker even inspired a new social media campaign: #TURNIPSTL. Noah MacMillan is an amazingly talented illustrator who used his art to tell our story. He took cues from the shapes, textures, and colors of the fruits and vegetables we sell to create a bus wrap that is interesting from every angle. David Stavron is the lead fabricator at Shellback Iron Works and used his skills manipulating iron, steel, and wood to bring the MetroMarket to life. He brought in elements like reclaimed wood, copper, and steel to build something that was both functional and beautiful.
St. Louis MetroMarket exterior (courtesy of Jeremy Goss)
Jeremy Goss in the St. Louis MetroMarket (courtesy of Jeremy Goss)
ART + THE VERB: TO BE — IN CHEROKEE!
By Con Christeson
This is one story about the Cherokee neighborhood that is also an arts district and an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. It is home to the people, businesses, families, and dogs who live on and around Cherokee street, visitors, shoppers, and transient folk who regularly walk its length.
It is becoming. It looks forward but also remembers. And wonders.... I am relatively new to ‘the street’ [5+ years]. Red Chair Studio at 2319 Cherokee is an artist work space. It’s also a community space. For groups, for meetings, for exhibits and events. For the community collabARTive.
Cherokee. A group of men, who are working their way out of homelessness, meet weekly at Red Chair to create new images for a new installation. We’ve attached origami butterflies to symbolize the change. The mural, the men, and the street are in transition. In many tribal cultures, there is no word for ART. Creativity is in the shape of a context, the texture of relationships, the sounds of commerce. It is how people are, not just what they do...food, ceremony, ritual, the magic of the market place. ART just is. It is how we ARE.
Arts-based community development aspires to BE even as it works with action verbs like: think, fund, make, show, see, sell. It challenges us to reflect, document and evaluate. Then start again. With, not for. Come visit us. The community collabARTive is supported by Peter and Paul Community Services and receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
We started out in a pop-up space across the street where you can still see the mural/sign that announces “The Bureau of Enquiry”. For three weeks in 2011, two Irish women, an artist and a community worker, were invited by us to be ‘in residence’ with St. Louis in general and Cherokee in particular. They lived nearby. They asked questions and gathered stories. They gave out cameras and got back hundreds of images. They observed intention, invention, inclusion. The resulting photographs showed people juxtaposed with architecture and abstractions, a few words and lots of images, a collective story. The mural is coming down soon. It will go to a new home with an artist who is very new to 17 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
Community collabARTive, Bureau of Enquiry Mural (photo credit: Richard Reilly) COMMUNITY VOICES
A PLACE TO CALL HOME: THE WORK OF DAN ZETTWOCH
By Ken Wood
Dan Zettwoch is a printmaker, draughtsman, typographer, cartographer and infographicdesigner extraordinaire. Through his complex, visually rich, and often true illustrations, he can deftly explain anything – say, the stats of a game – while still portraying all the glory as the drama unfolds (see Game 6, about the 2011 World Series). And in storytelling, Zettwoch
weaves us into a place in the not-too-distant past – a time inhabited by slot-car racetracks and Hulk Hogan electric toothbrushes – where every detail is filled with portent (no one can make a fork tine as exciting as Zettwoch – see the legend of “Forky” in Red Bird #3).
Growing up in Louisville, Zettwoch cut his teeth on Mad Magazine and then graduated to the second-wave underground comics of Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Dan Clowes and the Hernandez Bros. When he came to Washington University to study math and art (he quickly dropped the math), he started to make his own punk music ‘zines; thus began his comic-writing and -drawing career. After graduating and then working many years under Dave Gray at Xplane (and even helping to start the San Francisco outpost of that infographics firm), he settled back here for good. He has put his mark on the city of St. Louis – and on the worlds of illustration and comic books – ever since, with his signature mash-up of axonometric cutaways and eye-popping goofiness. Zettwoch’s first solo project upon moving back from San Francisco (his “homecoming” as he calls it) was to design a series of posters of famous St. Louisans, starting with James Buchanan Eads, the great bridge designer, and followed by Redd Foxx, Lou Thesz, and Mike Shannon. His purpose was to get to know (and hence love) St. Louis better through some of its main characters. He continues to get to know the place, making maps of St. Louis breweries and the Soulard Pet Parade, illustrating the St. Louis Slinger and the semi-historical evolution of the Cardinals’ logo and, most recently, masterminding the mural size illustrations of the History Museum’s A Walk in 1875 St Louis.
Dan Zettwoch, Game 6 (courtesy of the artist)
Dan Zettwoch, 1875 Streetcar (courtesy of the artist) COMMENTARY
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As interested as Zettwoch is in getting to know St. Louis (and finding his place in it), he is even more keen on developing an idea of place in his comic books – and, in a sense, letting us get to know the places in his worlds. He does this through characters, like Clint and Krystal, a brother and sister team who introduce us to the vaguely not-quite-present-day world of their granddad, Birdseye Bristoe. He also does it through details, like the bungie-cord straps on the back of Bristoe’s big trike, or even Zettwoch’s use of ball-point pen and white-out for the illustrations in that book, which give us the feel of a home-made comic drawn on the kitchen table by a teenager. All facts (and fictions) conspire to draw us back to a place and time which can’t be defined precisely but which we know (or feel, at least) to exist: suburban haze, summer at Grandpa’s, futuristic (and ungraspable) technology looming on the horizon.
Zettwoch describes Clint and Krystal, our hosts in Birdseye Bristoe, as being alter-egos for his teen and pre-teen self, and their grandpa is only a slight tweaking of Zettwoch’s grandfather. But he carefully constructs the details of the story – part credible, part not-so-credible – to leave room for all of us to step in and find kindred spirits in his characters. One story that sticks mostly to facts is Tel-Tales, Zettwoch’s latest ‘zine, which tells the story of his dad as a union man at Ma Bell in the 1970’s. But even here truth gets stretched a bit, in the guise of a story within the story. Zettwoch’s dad, as the youngest technician among a group of grizzled old veterans, feels the need to impress the old guard with his mad skills of diagnosing line outages using the old machinery (think wall-size switchboards with a gazillion wires plugged everywhere). He impressed them, but it turns out he had some
insider information: on the way to work that morning, miles away, he had spotted a pair of underpants caught on the wire that caused the outage in the first place. While the rest of the ‘zine – the machinery, relationships, and building – are all truly authentic, this one vignette may be a bit of a stretcher. But that’s something Zettwoch understands really well: that, just like in any great myth that has a factual event at its core, you can’t rely solely on truth to tell a story. In order to let people in so they can inhabit the place you’re creating, you have to also let in a little bit of the fantastical. Or as my high school English teacher instructed us: you have to take the truth and make it more the truth. Zettwoch is a master of this.
NO PEACE, NO PRIDE – A PHOTO STORY FROM FERGUSON By Aziza Binti On a muggy August evening in 2014, I took a photograph of a woman standing in tears, wailing, while being held by Pastor Traci Blackmon. She told us how hurtful the views of herself and her neighbors had been since the shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. When I see that photograph, I wonder about the sudden disappearance of pride in our city.
After Rams, Cardinals or Blues games there was always all of this so-called pride in our city. But here I stood, just steps away from a woman describing how hurt she was by being viewed negatively. People assumed she and her neighbors didn’t work when, in reality, she worked more than one job and did all she could for her children. She, along with other
mothers standing with us in tears, held by clergy, were experiencing battle fatigue. They had had to place wet towels under bathroom doors in the evening to protect children with asthma from teargas. Their neighborhood was under attack. Weeks into the protests and military police response, they were veterans. They were at a loss for words to express their terror as the sounds of war invaded the streets and their homes each night during standoffs between police and protesters. There was nothing to be proud of in how these women were being treated by the outside media, local media and even people living right here in St. Louis. Their children were unable to attend school for weeks leaving these parents struggling to get to work. We were a torn city. My photographs of that time show the effects of a city that, though happy to celebrate regardless of color when it came to things that essentially don't matter, was at a loss for how to support one another when it really counted.
COMMENTARY Aziza Binti, The Wailing (courtesy of the artist) 19 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
* www.azizabintiphotography.com COMMENTARY
STEPHEN M. DALAY AND ST. LOUIS CONTEMPORARY PRINT ART By Francis Friel The Sheldon Art Galleries Printmaking in St. Louis exhibition showcased works by many St. Louis artists and presses, including individual artists Lisa Bulawsky, Alicia LaChance, Tom Huck, Peter Marcus, Jefferey Sippel, Amanda Verback, Stephen M. Dalay and Firecracker, Island and Wildwood presses. The exhibition is testimony to St. Louis’ growing presence in international contemporary print art. Stephen Dalay’s story is one of the many stories of St. Louisans making careers in this increasingly respected visual art field. Both his Code and Diagram series were represented at the Sheldon last season. Dalay is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), and an art teacher at the University of Missouri St. Louis. He has exhibited his prints in exciting locations, including Buenos Aires and Malaysia, but he is also pleased to participate in exhibitions closer to home. In 2015, his prints were included in St. Louis Creates at St. Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA), a nod to his role in St. Louis becoming an increasingly known print center. Dalay’s first experience in printmaking came in 1973, during his senior year of high school. He was asked by a classmate to help produce signs for a school function. Dalay was impressed by the technique of printmaking,
which allows you to make multiple copies of an image. This feature of printmaking continues to fascinate him. “Signs and poster art were the greatest influences on me” explains Dalay. Graphic design with its bold approach of using text and imagery to convey ideas also had an impact on Dalay’s art practice, “At KCAI my work evolved after I was exposed to a variety of techniques and approaches to printmaking.” At KCAI Dalay started to combine print forms to create layers of images. This layering conveys information in both obvious and subtle ways. “I have always been fascinated by code, how information can be passed without others knowing the content.” Dalay’s Code series is the result of that lasting interest.
Stephen M. Dalay, Diagram 70, (courtesy of the artist)
Dalay has taken a more “architectural” approach to his more recent printmaking, apparent in his Diagram series. This work is intended to represent a floor plan or blueprint of an object which can be developed into 3-D sculpture. The ability to deconstruct the object to diagram its assembly is an integral part of the finished print.
Stephen M. Dalay, Point, from Code Series, (courtesy of the artist)
CHERISHING LOCAL ARTISTS AS CHANGE MAKERS Most people tend to associate art in St. Louis with large institutions such as the grand Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM), or perhaps the reputable Pulitzer Arts Foundation, even maybe small, but influential Luminary on Cherokee. Unfortunately, when we hold larger institutions such as SLAM as the only paradigm for the arts in St. Louis, we overlook the all-encompassing aspects of the arts, the artist, and the role that art plays in our communities. Although larger institutions play a huge role in the art world of St. Louis, it is important to include the local artist in our dominant narratives. So what is it like for the working artist in St. Louis? And what kind of impact do our local artists have on our communities?
I spoke with local artists Kristina Vidovic and Dayna Kriz on the defining characteristics of the artist and the role that they play in the St. Louis area. Both artists could not separate the way they define themselves as an artist from their social obligations, and essentially define themselves as community artists. Both feel obligated to create art that serves as a purpose and works towards tearing down systematic oppression. For both artists this also means creating art that exudes a sense of social responsibility, and facilitating art workshops that bring about social change. Community artists—regardless of their particular medium—use their artistic capabilities to amend the social fabric of St. Louis. Although Dayna Kriz primarily COMMENTARY
works as a multimedia artist, her work as a community artist began in St. Louis with the Rebuild Foundation. The nonprofit is “focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities.” The organization purchases abandoned buildings for the surrounding community to rehab and revision in a way that would be beneficial to the community. Kriz’s work with Rebuild included helping rehab abandoned buildings, community outreach, and helping maintain the community garden. In addition to work with the Rebuild foundation, she has instructed several free art classes for children throughout the St. Louis area in painting and multimedia.
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By Paulna Valbrun
Kristina Vidovic’s experience as an artist allows her to use her skills in painting to combat oppression in St. Louis. Vidovic’s latest project in community art documents the school to prison pipeline experience for eight inmates, through audio and video recordings and paintings. The project will also serve as the practicum for her Masters in Social Work. The final product works to humanize the school to prison pipeline experience through personal art. Participants willing to submit their artwork will have their contributions presented to school boards and other workers involved in the criminal justice system. Some of the video footage will also be used to complete the documentary Pipedreams in collaboration with Youth Undoing Institutional Racism. Vidovic also helped create banners to protest the Trump rally in Downtown St. Louis last Winter and helped sew a banner that was flown over the St. Louis arch protesting police brutality.
artwork. “I don’t always get paid for my art.” She states that fusing her social work degree with art has created the perfect solution and balance as a community artist. As a community, it is important for us to recognize our local artists, those who might not operate on a platform as large as the Pulitzer or SLAM, but who do the groundwork to tear down systematic oppression. Local artists play a very significant role in what defines art in St. Louis not solely because of their artistic capabilities, but because of their connections to our local communities. Instead of solely creating art for the sake of prestige, lecture, or financial compensation, these artists create work that aims to ameliorate a community that is in need of healing.
Dayna Kriz, (image courtesy of the artist)
The adversity that both artists presented was finding a balance between their work and their personal art practices. Kriz mentions that although having an MFA affords her the opportunity to teach, instructing a class can be consuming because “it’s a job that you bring home with you.” The work required of a teaching artist to focus on classroom dynamics, plan lessons and attend to student needs requires continued attention long after class has ended. Kriz has often opted for work in food service because such jobs allows the emotional space and time for her to work on her personal art while also providing enough money to support her. Vidovic admits that “It’s hard to keep up with personal art” because of school and work. Outside of her community art projects, she has only had time to sell art at a swap meet once within the past year. Another challenging factor presented by Vidovic was the lack of value people place on local artists and their
Dayna Kriz, White Wall(s) installation view at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, (photo credit: Cole Lu)
WHEN THE MISSISSIPPI INSPIRED VISIONS OF THE RHINE By Susan Bawell Weber COMMENTARY
When I lived in Munich, I had to regularly take the train to Bonn. As I traveled up the Rhine Valley, it reminded me of home (the Mississippi Valley.) I had no idea this comparison had been a selling point for attracting German immigrants to Missouri in the 19th century. Germans were then the largest group to migrate to the United States, only recently surpassed by Hispanic immigrants. By the end 21 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2016
of the 19th century, more than 5 million Germans had arrived. In the 20th century, another 2 million came, forming a third of the German diaspora throughout the world. While conditions in the German principalities were not as bad as in Ireland, crop failures, inheritance laws, high rents and prices, failed pro-democracy revolutions, and the effects of the Industrial Revolution led to widespread poverty, and often limited personal and religious freedom. COMMENTARY
Encouraged by German immigration “peddlers” like Gottfried Duden pushing the similarities between the Mississippi valley and the Rhineland, land grants, and personal freedom, Germans came to America. Relatives and friends who emigrated first encouraged others to follow, leading to "chain migrations" and group settlements. A German Belt developed across the country from Pennsylvania to Oregon.
A wide variety of peoples came - some indentured to pay for their voyage, hopeful farmers and wine-makers, brewers, intellectuals, men and women of education and culture. They established, orchestras, choruses, prestigious daily newspapers, piano manufacturing, buildings, kindergartens, schools, and universities - integral parts of our cultural heritage. Some were artists who settled in St. Louis, used the city as a home base, or painted and moved on. Others settled down, made money and became grand art collectors. A walk through the Saint Louis Art Museum offers splendid examples. For example, in 1843, an adolescent Charles Wimar (Karl Ferdinand) arrived in St. Louis with his family. As an adult, he used St. Louis as his base and traveled up the Mississippi to paint scenes of Native Americans at war and hunting buffalo, which he took great care to portray accurately. The museum owns many of Wimar’s sketchbooks, works on paper and oil paintings. Another German St. Louis art story: David A. May arrived in the U.S. from Bavaria in 1854.
In 1905, he moved the May Department Company Headquarters to St. Louis. By 1950, his grandson, Morton May was president of the company and an avid art collector, known for collecting the “unfashionable.” In 1948, he purchased his first painting by Max Beckmann, discovered Beckmann was teaching at Washington University, was brave enough to take art lessons from him, and became an avid supporter. In 1983, Morton May bequeathed the Saint Louis Art Museum the largest private collection of work of Beckmann’s in the world (now considered one of the most important artists of the twentieth century), along with a stunning collection of art from the German Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke artists. The generous May endowed the museum with a fifth of its collection. The museum has continued to collect contemporary German art to complement its modern German art with works by Bueys, Gursky, Liefer, Lüpertz, and Polke, among others and definitive works by Richter, including his signature, Betty. It seems fitting that this impressive collection of German art is housed in a city so many Germans have
Charles Wimar, Studies of Beaded Scabbard and Knife, Decorated Pouch, Stone Axe, Branch of Bull Berry and Hill Sage, (courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum)
called home. For a further look at what transient artists left behind and what St. Louisans have been collecting since 1846, visit the Mercantile Library, the first museum west of the Mississippi.