THE VISUAL ART QUARTERLY OF ST. LOUIS
Rachel Whiteread, Line Up, (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum=)
CONTENTS IN REVIEW (PGS. 01-11) EXECUTIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH
CREATIVE EDITOR SUKANYA MANI
COPY EDITOR HILARY HITCHCOCK
DIRECTOR OF LAYOUT AND DESIGN MAXINE WARD
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD REILLY
WEB DESIGN AMY MILLER
CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS VICTORIA BARRY JOHN BLAIR DAVID BRINKER NICOLE COOPER TERRELL DICKERSON KATRYN DIERKSEN KATHY ANN DUFFIN MILO DUKE SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH RACHEL LEWIS TIM MCALVERN GLYNIS MARY MCMANAMON
XANDER MILLSAP ROBERT MORRISSEY ZUANIA MUÑIZ-MELÉNDEZ CECILIA PRANDI PETER PRANSCHKE ALEXIS RIVIERRE BRYAN ROBERTSON LEOR SHOMRONI SUN SMITH-FORET RICH VAGEN AMANDA VERBECK SARAH WEINMAN TERRY WILLITS
Victoria Barry explores notions of home in an exhibit at the Kranzberg Arts Center featuring collaborating artists Saj Issa and Kiki Salem. Katryn Dierksen singles out an artwork by Song Park from a group exhibit at Intersect Arts Center for critical examination. Cecilia Prandi’s review of Barry Anderson: Fragments of Space at the Bruno David Gallery is for our Spanish speaking readers (let it be a prod to practice). Rich Vagen takes on the challenging Rachel Whiteread exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum. Terry Willits documents the sixth annual Transcending the Spectrum event run by the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG). Editor Sarah Hermes Griesbach points us toward the Sheldon Art Galleries’ Growing Up: International Vertical Gardens informational exhibit about the new vertical garden in Grand Center. Leor Shomroni describes the Sheldon’s photography exhibit, Old School, New Rules. Tim McAlvern tells us what was on the walls at the Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora exhibit in the Sachs Museum of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. John Blair presents Damon Davis: Negrophilia as it appeared in Gallery 210, at UMSL. Rachel Lewis’s Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt at the Pulitzer gets to the heart of that exhibit’s thesis. And Bryan Robertson tells us why Quinn Brinceño was recognized with an award by the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.
ARTIST INTERVIEWS (PGS. 12-13) Read Milo Duke’s arch interrogation of Oliver Laric and Sarah Weinman’s words of wisdom from artist Vivian Brill.
COMMUNITY VOICES (PGS. 14-20) David Brinker tells us why his museum brought “new-Romantic” painter Gary Logan to SLU’s campus. Kathy Ann Duffin gives pointers on where in South City art by neighbor-artists can be seen and bought alongside cauliflower, coffee, candles or a pint. Libby Reuter and Sun Smith-Foret describe their Watershed Cairns and Riverwork Projects respectively. Alexis Rivierre’s project #IAMTHEFLAG challenges our interpretations of iconic local civic places. Nicole Cooper describes her vibrant figurative Body in Bloom paintings. Robert Morrissey presents a favorite painting of his by St. Louis watercolor artist Stan Masters. Glynis Mary McManamon continues to share the art of Ferguson with a Jeske Sculpture Park highlight tour. Our cover artist, Zuania Muñiz-Meléndez, tells us why flowers and humans made hybrid are more than just beautiful. And Amanda Verbeck of Pele Prints provides a light lesson in lithographic printing.
COMMENTARY (PGS. 20-23)
Front Cover: Zuania’s Muñiz-Meléndez, El Flamboyán, (image courtesy of the artist) Back Cover: Zuania’s Muñiz-Meléndez, La Petrea, (image courtesy of the artist)
Xander Millsap describes his engagement with the world around him through juxtaposed pictures he takes throughout his daily life. Terrell Dickerson shares some thoughts on the cultural significance of community gardens. And, finally, Peter Pranschke illustrates the fact that an artist’s life is no bed of roses.
Zuania’s Muñiz-Meléndez, El Flamboyán Amarillo, (image courtesy of the artist)
We are confident that you will find something of interest in the pages of this Summer “Art in the Garden” issue of All the Art. In fact, this would be a good issue to send to your cousin in New York or your friend in Seattle to show them, once and for all, that St. Louis is where it’s at. St. Louis artists and art workers are dreaming up projects faster than we can document them. Submissions within our loose garden theme are wonderfully diverse, but so much is going on in this region and we’ve only scratched the surface. Our next issue, Fall 2019, will be an exciting deviation from our norm. We are dedicating the entire magazine to the upcoming Innovations in Textiles event. More than 40 art venues crisscrossing the region will host textile exhibitions celebrating and examining fiber art. Innovations in Textiles will take place August through November with the first weekend of October scheduled for events organized in partnership with the Surface Design Association’s “Beyond the Surface” biennial conference. This series of exhibitions and events will celebrate traditional textile techniques alongside adaptive strategies that use fiber arts as activism or performance.
Our invitation to participate in writing All the Art is more pointed than our call to meet a general theme this time. Contributors are welcome to find an Innovations in Textiles participant to write about. The list of galleries, museums and organizations involved will likely continue to grow even more expansive as momentum builds. Check out the Innovationsintextilesstl.org website or contact us if you’d like to be connected to an artist or curator to weave a thread of this story into our Fall 2019 magazine. All the Best
Executive Editor and Co-Founder
NATIONAL BIENNIAL EXHIBITION ST. LOUIS ARTISTS’ GUILD
St. Louis artist Quinn Briceño won the “Ann Metzger Award,” for his painting Maria Elena in the 2019 Ann Metzger National Biennial Exhibition, at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, juried by Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum. At first glance Briceño work reminds the viewer of intense social realism, depicting the harshness of poverty and demanding a humanization of the working poor. Indeed, these works crafted from research on a recent trip to Nicaragua contain figures that could be found in the Depression-era photographs of Dorothea Lange or the Disasters of War etchings by Francisco Goya. Through manipulation of the negative space around each figure and an infusion of intricate patterns and lush colors Briceño constructs an image that both excites and challenges the imagination. This place is a step away from pure representation. One can see the possible influence of artists like Kerry James Marshall
and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Like these contemporaries, Briceño weaves together the figure and the ground to negotiate a divide between cultures and create tension between recognizable and ambiguous circumstances. Artworks like Maria Elena and Madre y Hijo force the viewer into a relational encounter, seduced by mesmerizing ornamentation, and made to come face-to-face with the struggles of someone they have never met. Maria Elena features a background of pounding orange geometric shapes divided by dark blue lines, that reminds one of fireworks in the night sky. The disposition of Maria Elena is almost lost as the oranges and blues of her shirt sink into the surroundings, hinting at a tiresome day, a day where all that is wanted is to dissolve into comfort. Briceño creates physical and metaphorical contrast between a gold leaf halo around Maria Elena’s face, and her shadowed face that draws us into her world, a revolving cycle of working until the
point of exhaustion, sleeping and working again. This never-ending sequence is further punctuated by a mop and a bucket, resting on a dirty floor, (a mess Briceño created using actual bean stains) and hints at the fact that Maria Elena begins her workday from the point of exhaustion and her work is never complete. The subversion of space, the mixing of reality and unreality presents itself as an internal struggle to negotiate external materiality. Briceño says, “Identity has always informed my practice. Being half Nicaraguan and half American has allowed me to see and live in two different cultures, while also not feeling like I belong in either.” To dig out these emotions, Briceño depicts an alienation in his figures. This isolation allows the viewer to connect to the humanness of the subject to that within us all. Briceño gives dignity to the working classes. While we may not know the exact circumstances of his figures, we do know what it feels like to be lonely, to be overwhelmed and to be surrounded by an endless stream of stains that seem like they can never be e ntirely cleaned up. His choice of materials subtly tugs at the racial inequalities inherent to transnational capitalism as the transfer of goods and services obtain more value than people and places. Briceño’s figures could just as readily be in America instead of Nicaragua. It is this dislocation that provides the substance of Briceño’s work — the creation of a place that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, a place that is both known and unknown, a place that is both universal and individual and, ultimately, a place that reveals the mystery of everyday experiences. -Bryan Robertson
Quinn Briceño, Madre y Hiyo (image courtesy of the artist) 01 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
BACK HOME IN YOUR NEW HOME THE KRANZBERG ARTS CENTER
Back Home in Your New Home displayed new work by the St. Louis-based PalestinianAmerican artists Saj Issa and Kiki Salem. The installation combined Issa’s ceramics and Salem’s fiber works in an exploration of how domesticity shapes the immigrant experience. Both engage with Palestinian craft traditions to discuss the the feeling of existing between homes and cultures. Held at the Galley at the Kranzberg in Grand Center, Back Home in Your New Home was the second in a series of exhibitions organized around the theme of “chaos.” Issa and Salem’s collaborative installation did not evoke this theme visually. Instead, the artists explored disorder conceptually through work addressing the complexities of identity and the diasporic experience. In their opening night artist talk, Issa and Salem explained how their collaboration grew out of a shared interest in the role of domestic objects in creating a sense of home within the Palestinian diaspora. In Badree (It’s Still Early), Issa gathered ten mezzanine and teacup sized bowls meant to mirror those used to offer food to guests in Arab homes. The bowls have a surprisingly muted color palette of earth tones and gray punctuated with gold details. The artist explained that this was a conscious
deviation from the vibrant colors of traditional Palestinian ceramics and expresses a sense of nostalgia and cultural longing. This sentiment extends to the lyrics painted in red that progress across the bowls, text taken from a Lebanese song Issa recalled hearing often in her family home. Salem explored similar personal memories in her weavings and embroidered works. In At Home, At the Masjid, At the Airport, Salem used traditional Tatreez embroidery to create an intricately decorated mat inspired by a patterned tray she remembers seeing in her aunt’s home. The artist created the work while traveling in both Palestine and the US, its own border crossing reflecting the artist’s inhabitation of what she calls the in-between space of diaspora. Elevated on cinder blocks, the mat urged visitors to “Please remove your shoes” as they entered into a seating area installed in the gallery. Here visitors were invited to use the space as they needed, perhaps to meditate or read a book from the artist’s personal collection placed on a shelf nearby. Issa and Salem share a passion for illustrating the rich history of Palestinian craft. Their art objects evoke traditional techniques, patterns and styles that have unfathomably long
histories in the region. However, in Salem and Issa’s work, these forms emerge in a translated form, emphasizing that these diasporic, domestic objects are paradoxically linked to but also distanced from their cultural origins. In the exhibition’s more overtly political works, Issa and Salem layered meanings that allowed for interpretive freedom but did not shy away from making a statement about the political realities in Palestine. Issa, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, and Salem, who was born in the West Bank, express a shared sense of existing between cultures, yet their work’s material and conceptual differences suggest that there is no single or simple answer to the question “Where is Home?” -Victoria Barry
Kiki Salem, Badree (It’s Still Early) (left), Saj Issa and Kiki Salem, Back Home in Your New Home (right), (photo credit: Victoria Berry) IN REVIEW
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SAJ ISSA AND KIKI SALEM:
FRAGMENTS OF SPACE
(FRAGMENTOS DE ESPACIO) BRUNO DAVID GALLERY
En la nueva sala para Proyecciones de la Galería Bruno David, se exhiben la serie de videos del artista Barry Anderson, Fragments of Space, creada entre los años 2016/2018. Actualmente Barry Anderson reside en Kansas City, MO. Su campo de trabajo está relacionado con el video, la fotografía y las instalaciones. Su obra fue expuesta en forma individual y grupal en Estados Unidos y en el exterior.
El cuerpo de obra de la exhibición está constituido de animaciones, creadas en su totalidad con herramientas digitales 3D. Son cuatro los fragmentos que la condensan, de entre 1:50 a 4:30 minutos de duración. En cada uno de ellos el espectador se ve inmerso en un viaje de interminables paisajes móviles constituidos por abstracciones geométricas.
Espacios gestados con signos reconocibles, de diversas dimensiones, de planos y de líneas, q avanzan en forma permanente y sucesiva. La velocidad de las imágenes está plasmada en movimientos con puntos de partida y sin llegada, los cuales generan un marco contenedor a un espectador inmóvil transformándolo en entidad participante. Fragmentos susceptibles de interpretaciones variadas individualizados por forma y color. El primero de los videos con predominio de rojos transicionando a violetas, de colores cálidos a fríos. El tratamiento del espacio da sensación de infinitud, los movimientos de las imágenes son de avance y retroceso. El segundo caracterizado por azules compensado con naranjas, líneas amarillas emergentes acentúan como flechas el punto focal central de formas circulares repetitivas, de idas y vueltas, el espacio aparece sin delimitar. El tercero con predominio de azules, planos rojos irrumpen para interceptan el recorrido visual, generando direcciones forzadamente obligatorias. El espacio es más definido e intencionalmente marcado a la potencialidad de una meta. El cuarto en grises, armónicos, estable, de marcada serenidad, de movimientos originados a partir de un eje central, espacio irreconocible, de abstracciones espejadas e hipnóticas. Todos los videos acompañados por sonido de percusión, que por secciones se aceleran junto con los movimientos de las imágenes, cambiando de esta manera la dinámica sensorial del espectador. -Cecilia Prandi
Barry Anderson, Fragments of Space installation view (top) and still (bottom), (courtesy of the artist and the Bruno David Gallery) 03 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
NEGROPHILIA Damon Davis’ Negrophilia is a powerful art exhibition that is challenging, provocative and uncomfortable. The art work in this show was created in 2014 and 2015 during the Ferguson protests over the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Initially conceived as his own self-therapeutic response to Brown’s death and subsequent similar incidents of police-involved murders of unarmed African-American men, Davis began creating art that was an investigation and documentation of his perception that society at large had become desensitized to the plights of African-Americans in poor, urban communities. By implication, the term “negrophilia” suggests a disturbing attraction, a morbid attraction to the pain and suffering of black people. The exhibition collection comprises images on scratch boards and multimedia framed images made with water color, ink, paper and inserted text from the book, Age of Napoleon: The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. Davis’ initial use of the Napoleon book was aesthetic in value. Using the actual pages of the book as the base of his work, he poured water color over them, later sketching perceived images in the paint flow. As Davis began to reflect on the written work, he was startled to discover that the Durants’ text made little to no reference to African peoples or the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Davis saw parallels between his perception that the dominant cultural ethos of the United States functions on the premise that black people did not make any sort of positive contribution or
impact on the culture of the country. The Durants’ myopic history was, Davis discovered, an apt metaphor for how American society repeatedly constructs itself and tells its story at the expense of black people. Moreover, acts of disruption and protest are often the only means by which African-American communities receive any attention from society at large. Davis regards his artworks as opposition to that status quo: “[What] I try to focus on in my work is using it either as a weapon to protect people, to empower people or as a way to imagine the world as I want to see it instead of dwelling on the world it is presently.” One of the means by which he imagines the world is through a deconstruction of form, seen frequently in his depictions of the human figure. Similar to Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Davis paints and draws the human form in an exaggerated, almost caricatured manner. Rather than attempting to replicate human subjects through realism, he engages in symbol making. He uses large circles to form the human head and eyes, elongated lines for the torso and different forms of mark making to indicate other bodily features. For instance, in artworks titled 46 and 54, the heads of the figures while apparent, are nebulous. Comparable to how Basquiat crossed out words in his paintings, Davis blots outs paragraphs of the Durants’ text, highlighting one word or interjecting a word into his collage of images. The viewer is guided by Davis to understand how a particular work is to be
GALLERY 210, UMSL interpreted. Yet even with his direction, there is enough ambiguity to invite further contemplation of the artworks. Davis’ Gallery 210 exhibit artworks make recurring references to the experiences of black women. From a disturbing image of a threaded noose near the womb of a woman in No. 72 to goddess imagery in No. 78, Davis notes the lived and embodied wisdom of women throughout the African-American community (wives, mothers, sisters, cousins, friends). For Davis, the trauma inflicted upon black communities can only be healed by embracing feminine insight and working to separate from residual toxic masculinity that has negatively impacted African-American communities through centuries of systematic racist assault. Damon Davis’ Negrophilia exhibited at Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) from February 16 through May 11. -John Blair
Damon Davis, Negrophilia, no 12 (left), Negrophilia, no 10 (middle), Negrophilia, no 17 (right), (images courtesy of Gallery 210) IN REVIEW
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BOTANICAL ART WORLDWIDE: AMERICA’S FLORA STEPHEN AND PETER SACHS MUSEUM A bust of Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy (the modern system of naming organisms), presides over the recently restored and reopened Sachs Museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT). Swedish author August Strindberg wrote that Linnaeus was a poet who happened to become a naturalist. His science was his art, and his art was his science. Botanical art, at its best, is both. The Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora exhibited at the Sachs Museum was a fitting tribute to Linnaeus. The Sachs Museum exhibit divided artworks into two groups: depictions of flora meant primarily to instruct (botanical Illustrations) and those made to be more vivid than life (botanical art). Botanical art elevates the commonplace, helping us to look anew at something we may have taken for granted — like living lichen or the spiraling tendrils of a vine. For its scientific purposes, botanical illustrations need to be objective, accurate and densely informative to record the nature of the specimen. America’s Flora exhibited February through May of this year and was part of a worldwide project which launched national exhibitions
simultaneously in 25 countries on six continents. It was curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). The exhibit of 46 works featured plants from around the country, mostly in watercolor, the traditional medium of botanical illustration. There were also some gouache, oil and pencil illustrations among the watercolors. Lucy Martin’s illustration, Blue Oak Branch with Lichens, is a perfect example of botanical art elevating the mundane. She conveys her love of the small things we discover when we look a little longer. The serpentine branch of the blue oak undulates across the page. The greygreen lichen, Ramalina menziesii, with its distinctive laced pattern, hangs from minor offshoots of the main branch creating a sense of deep space. Other species of lichen like Flavopunctelia flaventior, the Flavor Flav of fungi, cover big patches of the topside defining the branch’s massive form. Some of the depictions of flora seem to express the very character of the plant. In this way, Milly Acharya’s Trumpet Vine is a success. I know a little bit about trumpet vines. I accidentally planted some in my backyard. It’s a long story, and it’s not my fault. It does not
play well with other plants. It will take over a yard and eventually rip the gutters off the house. Acharya’s watercolor lucidly depicts its entangling snarl. The vine fills the page with a jumble of woodiness and new growth depicting its toughness and rapid generation. Orange trumpets point in every direction. One seed pod has burst. Another is ready. Covering more of the paper than most designs, the vine is entrusted to create its own composition and express its own aesthetic power. Another standout artwork, Three Sunflowers, by Jeannetta Van Raalte is an optimistic yellow. Her sunflowers are striking, luminous and drenched with a vitality of spirit. Betsy Rogers-Knox’s watercolor Woodland Wildflowers creates a miniature world reminiscent of water color master Albrecht Dürer’s Great Piece of Turf. Oak Leaf Lace by Lynne Railsback is remarkable for it’s how-about-thatness. It’s a watercolor of a partially decayed oak leaf that maintains its perfectly rendered lace veins like a leaf skeleton left behind. The summer/fall exhibition opening at the Sachs Museum on June 14 is titled Leafing through History: the Plants that Make Paper and will be on view until October 27. Visitors can explore the science behind the plants used to make paper around the world, the history of the techniques and traditions of papermaking and the art of papermaking from local artists and international origami artists. -Tim McAlvern
Botanical Art Wordwide: America’s Flora (installation view) (left), Lucy Martin, Blue Oaks Branch with Lichens (right) (photo credit: Tom Incrocci, courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden) 05 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
SHELDON ART GALLERIES Today, most of us have the ability to take photos with ease. We use the digital cameras that are basic technology included in our phones and leave the uniqueness of old processes to a select group of “old school” photographers. Last spring, the Sheldon Art Galleries hosted Old School, New Rules, which presented the projects of artists who use early photographic techniques to produce their prints. A theme of mixing past and present and incorporating old methods into the representation of modern subjects was immediately evident in this body of work. Jill Enfield puts this blending technique to work in her portraits of immigrants in a series titled The New Americans. Concerned that the immigrants among us are often overlooked, she draws them into close focus. She celebrates the bravery of her subjects for risking everything to start a new life. Using the charming result of the 19th-century wet-plate collodion process, Enfield’s portraits have a timelessness, tying her subjects to centuries of immigrants who have come here before them and before us. Keliy Anderson-Staley, explores how photography can define identity in her project, [Hyphen] Americans. Using tintype, another 19th-century process, she produces striking portraits of contemporary Americans that give the impression that these people of today were photographed in the past. Anderson-Staley’s subjects appear to float outside of time. They are neither fully of the past or the present. This unmooring of time works as a spotlight. The incongruent subject and photographic method draw attention to each other.
of the Vietnam War onto leaves as a comment on how the remanants of the war “live on forever in the Vietnamese landscape”. Annie Lopez breaks open the use of photography to make her prints into paper-fabric. Using the cyanotype process, she designs dresses out of printed photos and stories that connect to her personal life and culture. The paper used for the dresses is the same that is often used for wrapping tamales, which she connects to her cultural background. -Leor Shomroni
Note: If early photography interests you, visit the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Poetics of the Everyday: Amateur Photography 1890 - 1970 on view through August 25.
In addition to using the past to define the present, photographer Will Wilson attempts to use the present to redefine the past. While using the old method of tintype to produce his photos, his work focuses on replacing stereotypes of Native North America with a contemporary vision. Describing past perspectives of indigenous people as having a “settler gaze,” his mission is to provide a view of indigenous people from his own modern Native American standpoint. Identity is a major theme in this exhibit. As well as using past techniques to illustrate the present, the photographers use their backgrounds. In his installation, Immortality and Military Foliage, Vietnamese photographer Binh Danh uses photosythesis to print images
Jill Enfield, Luthor Ostenburg (top), Will Wilson, Kathleen Ash Milby, Citizen of the Navajo Nation, Trans-Customary Diné Artist (middle), Binh Danh, Fleeting (bottom left), (image courtesy of the Sheldon Art Galleries), Annie Lopez, Memorial (bottom right), (image courtesy of the artist and Sheldon Art Galleries) IN REVIEW
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OLD SCHOOL, NEW RULES
STRIKING POWER: ICONOCLASM IN ANCIENT EGYPT
PULITZER ARTS FOUNDATION The Pulitzer’s spring/summer 2019 exhibition Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt explores the life and destruction of objects produced throughout ancient Egypt. The exhibition spans Egypt’s immense history, including objects from the Pharaonic period (ca. 3000 BCE–30 BCE), the Late Antique period (ca. 200 CE–642 CE) and the Islamic period (beginning 642 CE). By comparing deliberately broken sculptures and reliefs with their (mostly) intact counterparts, the exhibition confronts visitors with an important question: Why would someone intentionally harm a work of art?
artifacts highlight not only the vastly different periods when such objects were originally created but also the variety of motivations of those who damaged them.
Many of the 40 objects on loan from the Brooklyn Museum feature distinct trends in iconoclasm—the intentional destruction of religious or culturally significant objects. These
Iconoclasm is often associated with conflicting religious beliefs, and that is demonstrated in the exhibition. An entire room is dedicated to Akhenaten’s attempts to
A prime example of political iconoclasm is on display in the exhibition’s opening gallery, with damaged depictions of Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s most famous female pharaohs. Although Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for over 20 years, her successor, Thutmose III, tried to erase her memory from history in order to better support his own dynastic claims to the throne.
alter the structure of Egyptian religion by denouncing the worship of more traditional Egyptian deities in favor of the worship of a single deity known as the Aten. Akhenaten’s attempts ultimately failed. After his death, the traditional polytheistic religion was reinstated, and images of Akhenaten and his family worshipping the Aten were destroyed. Thus, the influence of both the deity and its practitioners was eliminated. Religious iconoclasm was also a common practice in the Late Antique period. The rise of Christianity in Egypt and the greater Mediterranean area incited the destruction of pagan monuments. These works often depicted deities but also represented deceased individuals. Christians would deface such monuments, fearing that spirits may reside in the images. Not all iconoclasts had inherently political or religious reasons for their actions, however. In the Pharaonic period, tomb robbers would sometimes damage depictions of the deceased in order to prevent the deceased’s spirit from seeking retributions against the thieves. During the Islamic period, it was not unusual for artifacts to be broken apart for more mundane purposes, such as recycling the raw materials. Each work of art, displayed with careful lighting to make the delicate carvings visible, plays an important role in educating viewers on the reasons behind iconoclasm and the patterns of destruction that were recurrent throughout Egyptian history. Presenting relatively intact objects alongside examples of iconoclasm, with each pair on a shared base, encourages visitors to consider the significance of the monuments to those who created them—and to those who sought to destroy them. The exhibition is curated by Edward Bleiberg, senior curator of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and Stephanie Weissberg, associate curator at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. It is on view through August 11. -Rachel Lewis
Two Scribes (installation view), (photo credit: Alise O’Brian, image courtesy of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation) 07 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM
Following the acquisition of sculptor Rachel Whiteread’s Detatched III, the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) exhibited a mid-career retrospective celebration of the renowned artist’s 30 year career, bringing more than 90 of her artworks to St. Louis museum goers. Whiteread’s success and fame is largely associated with her large-scale sculptures — casts of the air around objects, within rooms, the interior of a chicken shed. Many sculptural works represent personal space or oft unobserved items in a house, such as a series of small casts of the innards of hot water bottles titled variations of Torso and placed among the form of a mattress leaned against a wall and a large cast of a bathtub. The bottles
evoke knowledge that there was pain and there was care. Whiteread points to the significance of a place where the mind lived at a specific point in time, showing the viewer “it was right here that this memory was formed.” Closet, a plaster, wood and felt cast of a wardrobe, provides insight into the extremely personal connection Whiteread has to her art. By filling a wardrobe with plaster and discarding the wood frame she shows the space inside. Covered in black felt, it is dark. The outside shows the inside — as she saw the inside of a closet as a child, hiding. She shows us space that isn’t there. She presents that air a child can hide within.
Untitled (Twenty-Five Spaces) dominated a SLAM gallery by both occupying a lot of space and by demanding attention through color and texture. Whiteread manages to show the space underneath a series of chairs. Arranged in a neat grid, resin casts of that rarely considered space appear both solid and gelatin, as if they are important and could melt. Each is a slightly different color, and their translucency allows their color to play off each other. The rows of small boxy monuments to ephemeral airy space becomes connected through the invisible (negative) space between them. Whiteread is known and celebrated for her sculptures. However, her drawings provided a surprising break from the evocative minimalist forms. They are graphically interesting, modern, minimal and insightful. In them, we see how she sees her artworks. So much of Whiteread’s work is about what is unseen. In her series of cast doors she shows one part of a home that has been removed and remains. What remains is changed. The process of casting corners rounded them. Edges are less sharp. They remain, but changed. Change, the act of change, the process of change, the point between A and B that is often unseen. Whiteread points to that space around what we see, the space occupied not with objects but with a ghostly presence around and inside of them. -Rich Vagen
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Twenty-Five Spaces) (top), Detached III (bottom left), Pink Torso (bottom right), (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum) IN REVIEW
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KITTY WHITE IN THE LAYERED PLACE INTERSECT ARTS CENTER
Song Park’s mixed media tableau, Kitty White, was one of several standout artworks in the Layered Place exhibit at Intersect Arts Center this past spring. Aptly named for its studded replica casts of Hello Kitty, a global icon of
cutesy girldom, Park’s 30” x 40” artwork is formed from thick white plaster over board, its edges pillowed with satin fringe and pink and white faux fur. The work is an effective labyrinth to the entrapped remains of porcelain
and ceramic doll figurines. These occupants inhabit the layers of a place that is singularly and infinitely soft, pure and delicate. It is a place of thick, clinging femininity. Most of the dolls represent grown women while one pink-dressed little porcelain girl stands on top of the scene. She is affixed in her manufactured position beside a glossy pink number 8 (or perhaps it is an infinity symbol). The girl atop appears unbothered by the fate of the figures below her who are strung with strands of pearls that blind, suffocate and adorn. Broken bits of porcelain women secured in plaster peer out from the frosted surface. Park’s layered space successfully houses a postmodern critical reception of womanhood. She inserts herself into her work with a tag marked “FAUX.” Kitty White is a critical reception to a subjective experience of womanhood plastered in place, stuck in the hardened wall of learned cultural behavior. Park visually unravels and responds to the historical cultural practice of femmes performing purity and innocence. -Katryn Dierksen
Song Park, Kitty White (left), Kitty White detail (right), (photo credit: Katryn Dierksen) 09 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
MAD ART GALLERY: METRO TRANS UMBRELLA GROUP
Over 50 visual artists and more than two dozen performers and performance artists converged on Mad Art Gallery last spring for Transcending the Spectrum 6, an annual art exhibit, performance event and fundraiser for the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG). In the midst of ongoing debates over transgender rights — from the President’s demand for a ban on transgender service members in the military to continued consideration regarding access to public restrooms — St. Louis came together for the sixth year in a row to make a stand against hatred and bigotry, to compel us to think beyond binaries and convention and to make our rich legacy known. “We are humans, just the same as everyone else, and we just want acceptance and understanding. I want this show to be a place for the bears, queens, dykes, trans boys and girls, non-binary, asexuals, and pansexuals all in one place,” explained event curator and participating artist, Alex Johnmeyer. “I feel like this is one of the few events where everyone gets together in celebration of trans and queer art!” The gallery walls were hung with over 150 works in varied media, curated by local artists Alex Johnmeyer and Charlie Blake. Artists
ranged from St. Louis-based Jeff Kapfer, Karen Jones and Amber Johnson to returning artists Bronn McMillin and Nic Echo, along with new participants Larrissa Mooy and Sihn Starr Rossi. The artists made visible their truths with images that empower their communities and normalize the complexities of their experiences of trans erasure and bigotry. Assistant curator Charlie Blake reminds us, “Trans and queer voices have always been and will continue to be vital to art and cultural movements. The Transcending the Spectrum show is about recognizing and celebrating that fact with each other and with friends from the wider community.” Partnering visual art with performance, co-hosts Simon Saize and Tiki Vonte opened the stage to entertainment, enlightenment and education. High-energy drag favorites Dickie Rebellion, Billy Midol, and Lug Nut; and original music from The Petting Zoo and Estradiol among others. Moving words helped participants to understand that we are bigger on the inside than on the outside. Community members Jarek Steele, Dani Skye and Joss Barton called on participants to witness beauty and pain and life. Their powerful messages were thoughtful and represented gender and race identity with deep humanity and courage.
Trans and gender non-conforming exhibitions of art in all genres have increased in numbers over recent years. Galleries are creating spaces to amplify and center often underrepresented trans and gender non-conforming artists, giving them a platform for expression. A testament to this commitment in the arts community is the Museum of Trans Hirstory and Art (MOTHA) in San Francisco. MOTHA enriches the transgender mythos both by exhibiting works by living artists and by honoring the hiroes and transcestors who have come before us throughout North America and the world. Transcending the Spectrum 6 brought visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community to the St. Louis region and reminded us that there is work we can do right here, at the local level. -Terry Willits
T.L. Witt, Dickie Rebellion, (image courtesy of the artist)
Transcending the Spectrum 6 exhibition event (image courtesy of The Metro Trans Umbrella Group) IN REVIEW
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TRANSCENDING THE SPECTRUM 6
GRAND NEW GARDEN
SHELDON ART GALLERIES
The Sheldon Art Galleries has given us a museum exhibition indoors to introduce their new permanent vertical garden installation outside: Growing Up: International Vertical Gardens. The Sheldon has extended their explanatory exhibit through August 10. You will find it tucked into the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg
Gallery on the ground level floor of the galleries building. This Growing Up exhibition provides a history of vertical gardens, comparing St. Louis’s new land art asset with similar projects around the world. The Sheldon’s new Steward Family Plaza, a vertical garden on the west side of the Emerson wing of The Sheldon, was designed by architect Benjamin Gilmartin in collaboration with Andrew Colopy and a host of lighting, engineering and design professionals.
What’s good about surrounding yourself with green on almost all sides? Vertical green spaces soak up air pollution and produce oxygen, filter dust particles, create humidity, absorb CO2, act as a filter for sound and UV rays and provide positive psychological effects. The Sheldon exhibit encourages green architecture on a larger scale than just vertical gardens. Green buildings can have the same effect as 22,000 – 55,000 square yards of forest and green space, and they do it on relatively small footprints! And that’s not something to sneeze at.
Why grow green upwards? In other cities limited space is a typical incentive to grow vegetation skyward. Here, the perks listed include the rush of seeing something novel and beautiful as much as the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of living among plants.
Patrick Blanc Quai Branly Museum (France) (top), Design model of Steward Family Plaza at the Sheldon (bottom), (image courtesy of the Sheldon Art Gallery) 11 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
-Sarah Hermes Griesbach
OLIVER LARIC IN ST. LOUIS
Oliver Laric, a Berlin-based Austrian artist, was the creator of the arresting projection. I later had the opportunity to interview Laric at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) where his artwork was also exhibiting this last winter and spring. There, I learned that Laric understands himself as an internet artifact. “My career began online,” he told me, “It was the only way my work could be seen.” And his presence online is still vital to his art, partly in furthering his project of open source availability for his 3D scans, but even more centrally because a multivalent digital presence is the essence of his practice. 2000 cliparts, the projected video that I saw on the CAM facade was, Laric told me, motivated somewhat by economics. The work could be done without studio space. He added that the work took considerable of time to realize, and he remembered questioning spending two months working on a 20 second piece. Laric’s SLAM exhibits included a video animation work, Betweenness, alongside a 3-D scan-created sculpture of the museum’s long beloved 16th-century sculpture Reclining Pan.
Oliver Laric, Recling Form (bottom), (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum)
SLAM staff scanned the original sculpture, sent the digital file to Laric. He printed molds of the object in multiple sections using a variety of materials and finishes that make the dividing lines of the parts clearly identifiable. This notion of “betweenness” is a recurrent theme in Laric's art practice. In Year of the Dog, which features a human form with a dog's head, and within Reclining Faun, Laric presents a human-animal hybrid, neither one thing or the other. The two animated films that showed concurrently at SLAM, Betweenness and Untitled, and the patchwork Reclining Faun sculpture, reflect this interest. Nature, as animated mushrooms and cells, blend and bend into human figures and even SLAM’s famous mummy, Amen-Nestawy-Nakht. Again, Laric shows himself to be the master of morph. He says that the real focus for him is the unstated Janus-like space between the forms, where the energy flows. My online examination of Oliver Laric, the internet artifact, led me to earlier entries on oliverlaric.com where I was delighted by his Webchat with Andy and Songs Translated To Buildings. The first was a charming interview
HIDDEN TREASURES EVERYWHERE “I never would’ve believed I’d make war on wild violets, but they’re invading my flowers,” said artist Vivian Brill. Her passion for gardening came as somewhat of a surprise. She never had a garden before she bought her house fifteen
years ago, but she did have plants in her apartments. Creativity, however, has always been part of her life. She’s a photographer and also makes
with Andy Warhol conducted online through a medium. Laric told me that this was one of a series of interviews with deceased artists, some famous and some not, conducted using mediums. I concluded my chat with Laric by asking versions of his questions his medium presented to Warhol: Do you have a message for St. Louis artists? “No, that would be far too arrogant.” How do you think art will develop during the next decade along this axis of the multiverse? “I think there will be a growing exhaustion and sense of wastefulness concerning the creation of overly large works of art that are economically taxing. This would, of course, include this present work, Reclining Faun.” Do you have any regrets? “Of course. It's good to have regrets” www.SLAM.org www.oliverlaric.com
By Sarah Weinman “scribble drawings”, in which she closes her eyes for a moment and draws randomly, then refines the drawing into a humorous image she glimpses within it.
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One frigid February evening, having left my cave to go to a concert at Judson House, I noticed something new projected on the north-facing wall at the entry of the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (CAM). The projection was a rapidly morphing series of clip art images featuring humans doing various things — sports, dancing, riding horses and bikes, wearing historical costumes — smoothly and evocatively blended into each other, telling an almost evolutionary story about our species and its polymorphous behaviors. I stood transfixed in the snow and sleet through several cycles. Once at the Judson House, I was repeatedly drawn to the window to watch it through the silhouetted trees.
By Milo Duke
Brill sees a lot of similarities between art and gardening. “The ground in a piece of art and the ground in your back yard are both bases to start with,” she noted. “In the garden, you can work with a lot of colors like the Impressionists; you can do one color, like Picasso did in his Blue Period; or you can make a design and have others execute it, like Sol LeWitt.” In the beginning, she cultivated one section of her yard at a time. By now, most of the space is organized so she concentrates on maintenance: weeding, cutting back, and thinning out. “I first started gardening by breaking up the big open space,” she said. “Later I focused on the details, which is like drawing. My first sketch of something is about getting the idea that grabs you, down on paper so you don’t forget it.”
She plants with a variety of considerations in mind: native species to attract bees and butterflies; lilacs and lilies of the valley whose scents remind her of childhood; and hydrangeas and sunflowers for their beauty. Her considerations include texture and color, interests which are reflected in her photographs. The photograph Bamboo depicts a forest of these plants. Branches with green leaves hang in graceful overlapping arcs in the upper half of the piece. In the lower half, green, yellow, and pink stems form dense layers that recede into the background. “I like the different textures of stems and leaves, and the contrast between the light foreground and dark background,” said Brill. Textures and layers are also the focus of Edge of the Garden, photographed on her own property. In the foreground, pink and white
flowers on long stalks draw the eye up and down across the image. Brown rocks and crumpled brown leaves fill the background. She prefers to look for compositions already arranged, rather than setting up entire shots. “If I think too much in the moment about taking a picture, I’ll lose what attracted me to it in the first place,” she said. In the photograph titled Foggy Garden, seven ducks cross the lake in the Missouri Botanical Garden on a misty day. The setting is beautifully atmospheric, with the background almost fading to white. Brill explained, “I waited for the ducks to cross the water and be in the perfect place for the picture. I have enough patience to wait for ducks or the right cloud formation.” As an artist and a gardener, she has become expert at noticing things that many of us would miss. “I hope viewers enjoy the subjects of my photographs, and I hope my drawings make people laugh,” she said. “I want my pieces to remind people of the beauty in the world. It’s easy not to see it.” She also appreciates the therapeutic qualities of artmaking and gardening. Drawing requires her to stay loose and focus on the process of drawing itself. She enjoys the physical exercise of working outdoors. “I feel so rich when I come in with handfuls of flowers. They’re gifts,” she remarked. “I like being stalked by robins. They follow you when you dig because worms come up.” She continued, “If you can’t enjoy the little things, you’re probably not going to be happy because the little things are almost all that we have. There are hidden treasures everywhere.”
Vivian Brill, Bamboo, (top), (image courtesy of the artist), Foggy Garden, (bottom), (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum)
Vivian Brill’s drawings and photographs can be seen at Compônere Gallery at 6509 Delmar Blvd. in the Loop.
HIGHWAY RUINS, AMERICAN BEAUTY By Robert N. Morrissey
St. Louis watercolor artist Stan Masters (1922 2005) was born into grinding poverty in Kirkwood, Missouri. After graduating from Kirkwood High and serving in WWII, he spent the first half of his career in commercial art and advertising. Then, from 1971 he devoted himself to watercolor, until a stroke ended his career in 1995. Masters was almost entirely self-taught. He worked in the American Realist tradition of Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Andrew 13 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
Wyeth. Much of his work portrays the decline and disappearance of rural America, of which Grover Texaco is a fine example. Grover, Missouri was a small rural community 25 miles west of St. Louis. It had a population of about 200 when it was absorbed into the city of Wildwood in 1995. It sat along the famous Route 66, which itself had been decommissioned just 10 years earlier.
Affectionately called the Main Street of America, Route 66 was established in 1926. Spanning 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, it passed through eight states and countless small towns. It became a popular highway for tourists headed west, as well as an important artery for interstate trucking. During WWII it grew in national importance as a major conduit to move men and materiel across the country. Its decline began in 1956 when President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid
Highway Act, establishing the interstate highway system we see today. By the mid-1960s most of Route 66 had been absorbed into the new highway system. The parts that weren't absorbed were bypassed and Route 66 was finally decommissioned in 1985. Masters’ Grover Texaco depicts a pleasant, utilitarian building. The uniform width of the piers gives it structure, while the complex arrangement of the doors and windows between provide interest and variety. The crenellations relieve an otherwise monotonous roof line as the signs guide the eye smoothly around the building. Starting with the Texaco sign, the eye moves up the wall to the "Gas Oil Tires" panel. From there it undulates across the top until it meets the support post, where the rust draws it back to the ground. Masters subtly completes the circuit with the horizontal line suggested by the three posts, leading the eye back across the page.
The detached sign serves many functions. It is our immediate clue that the station is permanently closed (the notion confirmed by the absence of pumps). Its placement against the bright, sun-dappled wall — framed by the tree and windows — confirms its importance. Ingeniously, Masters positioned it at one end of the building and its pole at the other, inviting us to mentally restore it to its original position. In doing so we move diagonally across the façade, passing in front of the darkened doors and windows, reconfirming the narrative and further engaging us with the painting. The awnings, modest as they are, provide a welcoming reminder that service was personal and friendly. The attendants, probably dressed in uniforms, cleaned your windshield and checked your oil. For decades, they served the needs of locals and tourists from this unassuming building. But the sun has set on the Grover Texaco, as it has on the leafless
Stan Masters, Grover Texaco, (image courtesy of Robert Morrissey Antiques)
tree. Yet, the grounds remain clean and tidy, unsullied by litter and debris. In this quiet, orderly painting, Masters brilliantly fulfills his artist’s statement, which reads, in part, “I am striving to provide you with a pleasurable escape, perhaps remind you of something forgotten and most certainly, convey a sense of beauty.” www.robertmorrissey.com
SUBLIME UNDER SEIGE By David Brinker (Assistant Director, MOCRA)
The exhibition title alludes to the artist’s primary concerns. The first is humanity’s relationship with the Earth, fraught with the looming catastrophe of climate change. Logan’s paintings tap into memories of places like his native Trinidad and bleak volcanic landscapes in Iceland, expressing both a love of nature and concern for its degradation. Describing himself as a “Neo-Romantic,” Logan channels the spirit of 19th-century painters like Casper David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner, who powerfully expressed the stark creaturehood of humanity in the face of the sublime majesty of nature. In addition, Taoist principles such as the harmonious interplay of universal opposites are evident in the tensions of color and surface texture of the works. (The vertical format of many of the paintings alludes to Chinese scroll paintings.) Through his work, Logan also navigates the complex terrain of human nature and identity. As an artist of Afro-Caribbean
descent and as a gay man, various aspects of his racial and cultural heritage and his sexuality are interwoven into his images. These aspects encompass fraught themes and psychological demons, but also embrace and celebrate Blackness, gay identity, survival, healing, and renewal.
Artist Gary Logan synthesizes wide-ranging influences and themes in abstract landscape paintings marked by dramatic lighting, atmospheric ambiguity, vivid colors, and rich textures. Fifteen of his works are on display in a solo exhibition titled Elements at Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art through June 30.
In an artist talk at MOCRA, Logan highlighted his painting Red Sea. The title alludes to the Biblical Exodus, and the work’s undulating crimsons, vermilions, scarlets and rusts suggest the damage we are inflicting on the oceans, but Logan revealed he also had in mind Turner’s 1840 painting Slave Ship, which made a lasting impression on Logan during his college years. Thus, Red Sea also becomes a meditation on the Middle Passage and the enduring legacy of slavery in the Americas. Logan’s interest in questions of individual and cultural identity is generous; as an arts educator he helps his high school students examine and express these issues for themselves.
www.mocra.slu.edu COMMUNITY VOICES
Gary Logan, Red Sea, (image courtesy of the artist and the Museum of Contemporary Religeous Art) SUMMER 2019 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 14
PRINT 101: LITHOGRAPHY By Amanda Verbeck
Amanda Verbeck, collaborative printer and publisher at Pele Prints, continues her serialized print tutorial for All the Art:
the paper. This whole process of inking and printing can then be repeated multiple times to create an edition of finished prints.
Lithography is all about chemistry. Simply put, the process works because oil and water don’t mix. In traditional stone lithography, oil-based drawing materials are used to draw an image on a polished slab of limestone. The stone is then treated with a chemical solution that causes the image to attract oil-based printing inks and the blank areas of the stone to attract water. When the stone is ready for printing, it is dampened with water and ink is rolled onto the surface. The blank areas absorb the water and repel the oil-based ink, leaving the ink only adhering to the image itself. Once paper is laid on top, the stone is run through a litho press to apply even pressure and transfer the image to
The same principle (that oil and water don’t mix) is central to other forms of lithography as well, from photo litho to pronto plates to offset lithography. These newer techniques have streamlined the more traditional, laborintensive stone lithography process and made it generally more accessible. At Pele Prints, photo lithography is a favorite process. Many of the artists we collaborate with are strong illustrators, and drawing is central to their art practice. And, as far subject matter goes, another favorite is botanical imagery. Mary O’Malley’s lithographs beautifully illustrate the garden setting through
images of flowers, buds, birds, and insects. Printed in metallic inks, some of her pieces are on handmade Nepalese paper and some also have hand coloring. Local St. Louis artist Alicia LaChance focused on botanical subject matter with her collaboration at Pele Prints as well. In her work, we used lithography to create the black silhouettes of various plants and flowers. The word lithography derives from the Greek words lithos (meaning ‘stone’) and graphein (meaning ‘to write’). The process was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, offset lithography was the most common form of printing in the commercial industry. And since its invention, fine artists have used all forms of lithography as a great way to combine drawing and printmaking.
Mary O’Malley Bloom (left), Alicia LaChance Hotarul 15 (middle), (images courtesy of the artists), Andy Warhol Flowers (right), (image courtesy of Pele Prints and Amanda Verback)
RIVERWORK PROJECT 2015-2018 By Sun Smith-Foret
Very near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri lives and works Sun Smith-Foret, an artist who has focused the last years of her art practice on our regional rivers. All the Art asked Smith-Foret to describe her Riverwork project: Riverwork is an artwork of multiple panels or segments. It is 300+ linear feet of pieced, painted, stitched, stenciled, hand-finished textile on the subject of rivers and water.
Riverwork is also the practical application of making visual the challenge of inclusion. My ideas took form in a new way when, in the spring of 2015, Libby Reuter of Watershed Cairns invited me to make a 100-foot-long installation about rivers to be displayed with her glass cairns artworks on the steps of the Gateway Arch. My textile work was meant to flow down the steps and go directly into the Mississippi. I agreed immediately to the proposition for the project. Riverwork on-site installation at the Alton riverfront (image courtesy of Sun Smith-Forest)
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At this precise time I had just participated in, and had internalized the dynamics of, a monumental collective arts endeavor sourced in the tragedy of Mike Brown’s death and the ensuing civil disruption often referred to simply as “Ferguson.” Immediately post-Ferguson my friend and colleague (through African American Circle at the Saint Louis Art Museum), Freida Wheaton, brought black and white artists together in an epic citywide, regional and national outreach of protest and mourning. The event was titled Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Artists Respond. Freida called in her allies and mobilized us, managing all aspects of a 14venue series of exhibitions, catalogue, video, and artist lectures at all sites. It was stunning, a feat of connectedness, a revelation. Freida had included white artists, a gift to us personally and professionally. That gracious inclusion impacted and expanded my thought and helped form Riverwork. With the encouragement of trusted advisors, Libby, Freida, Edna Patterson Petty, Suzy Farren, Carlene Fullerton, Lynn Hamilton and my husband, Colin Campbell, I realized I could
include other artists in this project. Since I have worked in the arts for decades, I knew artists, I put out a call for participants in a wide and inclusive arc. Each artist who wanted to participate contributed a 12” square or a 2’ x 6’ panel. We had a lot of ground to cover. Participants were instructed to use cotton cloth. It could be pieced, stitched, printed, painted, or photo transferred, could not have embellishments, had to pass through my sewing machine and couldn’t be finished off. Each panel required a reference of some sort to rivers or water. They might use their personal dreams, memories or reflections. Content could also be social, political or ecological. Years of research on Anglo and African American quilt making bolstered my certitude that the form and function married up. As squares and contributions of cotton materials came into my studio in Alton, I realized the project had to take a much larger form and I doubled my space so I could lay out the panels as they accrued. We lost access to the Arch Grounds but the project was so far along and engaged so many artists and
supporters that we simply persisted with no fixed exhibition venues. In August 2015 the city of Alton via Sara McGibney of Alton Main Street made Riverwork’s public art debut a reality. Subsequently we showed at Vaughn Cultural Center with Freida Wheaton as curator, Jacoby Arts Center, Audubon Center at Riverlands, National Great Rivers Museum with Penelope Schmidt as curator of the Alton area venues, and the Saint Louis Artists’ Guild, thanks to the kindness of Lynn Hamilton and Kathryn Nahorski. This year we enjoyed the major exposure of a six month installation at Lambert Saint Louis International Airport through the Airport Art and Culture Program. Next winter and spring (2020) Riverwork panels will be featured in the Bellwether Gallery at the Sheldon Art Galleries in Grand Center with artist talks and workshops for adults and children.
JESKE SCULPTURE PARK, FERGUSON, MO By Glynis Mary McManamon
Exhibits are biennial, so visitors have enough time to catch each installation while also enjoying the surprise of new artworks as they arrive. Many of the pieces currently on display are part of an exchange program with “Six-Mile Sculpture Works” in Granite City, Illinois.
Bryce Olen Robinson is the instigator of the park. A sculptor himself, Robinson is committed to expanding the presence of public art in Ferguson. The park was founded in 2014 after two tornados had passed through Ferguson leaving behind quite a bit of damage. Robinson’s plan was to revitalize the area. He floated the idea of a sculpture park, a kind of “playground for the imagination,” and the idea caught on.
Friends of Jeske Sculpture Park non-profit raises the money needed for the project. Selections are made by a committee of the City of Ferguson and have included artists from as far as New York and Texas.
Jeske Sculpture Park is a hidden gem in Ferguson. The seven-acre park is located at 211 Thoroughman Avenue and has a web presence at jeskesculpturepark.com. A walk around and through this public park is necessary in order to see the variety of artworks installed.
Holly Kelly, Bench (left), Brett Williams, Artifact (middle), Arny Nadler, Infastructure 1 and 2 (right), (image courtesy of Glynis Mary McManamon and Good Shepherd Arts Center) COMMUNITY VOICES
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MARK MAKING ON OUR MIGHTY RIVERS By Libby Reuter
To inspire preservation of fresh water in the US heartland, St. Louis artists Libby Reuter and Joshua Rowan create Watershed Cairns: Water
Libby Reuter and Joshua Rowan, Watershed Cains: Spearfish Creek, Black Hills South Dakota, (image courtesy of the artist)
Marked with Art throughout the Mississippi/ Missouri River basin. Since 2011, they have selected locations where the land is collecting and conducting rainwater to streams and rivers. They place and photograph found-glass sculptures, assembled to resemble the stacked stone cairns that hikers use to mark a trail or memorialize an event. Reuter’s cairns are also inspired by Renaissance reliquaries. Unlike those earlier vessels, Watershed Cairns glass sculptures do not contain a religious object, but rather draw attention to the sacred landscape that surrounds the luminous marker. While they might initially appear to be blown-glass, each site-specific cairn is assembled using thrift-store glass vases, bowls, plates, and lamp parts. To make the work easier to transport to a site, the cairn is glued in three or four modules that fit in milk crates or tubs. At the site, Rowan directs the placement of the cairn in response to the landscape, while Reuter balances the component parts to form temporary glass structures up to 78 inches tall. After Rowan creates a 6,000 x 9000 bit digital photo, composed in his Cannon 5DSR camera, the modules are repacked and removed for later exhibition.
In their exhibits of uncropped large-scale photographs, video and cairns, and on watershedcairns.com, the images are identified by their physical address, latitude and longitude, and are accompanied by information about the local watershed. Partnering with environmental groups, including the Missouri Coalition for the Environment; Heartlands Conservancy, Illinois; Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region; and the Mississippi River Network, the artists use their images for educational programs, billboards, pop-up exhibits, and workshops where families create cairns from plastic packaging to place and photograph in their home watershed. Early work focused on the St. Louis metro area, but the artists have expanded their project to better understand and represent the whole Mississippi/Missouri River watershed, which covers 41% of the continental US and is the third-largest river system on Earth.
#IAMTHEFLAG By Alexis Rivierre
It has been said that taking a knee as an act of protest to police brutality in the United States is disrespectful, to this country, to those who serve and to the flag. To those sentiments I say, I AM the flag.
Since my practice is often reactionary it was natural that I would utilize my interdisciplinary approach to storytelling as a way of critiquing culture and calling us all to reexamine the norms of “the American experience.”
Daily, my being, my existence is the American experience and not solely relegated to the black American experience; the other experience. I have always had a hard time understanding how as a country we show more regard for a symbol in the name of patriotism than we do for many of our citizens, particularly black and brown, who are not only undervalued but often considered expendable. In late 2017, I constructed a mask out of a U.S. flag after learning of tweets that President Donald Trump shared where he insisted taking a knee is a disrespectful practice and encouraged NFL team owners to fire the players who participated in this form of protest.
What has continually alarmed me, notably in the deaths of Philando Castillo, Eric Garner and Michael Brown Jr. respectively is that images of their bodies being shot, suffocated or laid out in the street were and can still be accessed and viewed on demand. I fear that as we continue to consume these images we will allow ourselves to be desensitized to such unjustifiable acts leaving more people susceptible to such violence. It is a common idea that history repeats itself and in this social media-centered world it often feels that the viral nature of such videos parallels the legacy of affirming white supremacy through the public spectacle of lynchings.
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In the performance #IAMTHEFLAG, I took a knee, and when I was approached, or someone would pass by me I would fall violently in “death,” repeating these gestures cyclically as a parallel to my experiences continually watching black deaths on social media and the news. As for audience engagement, many viewers diverted their attention to their cellular devices, their head down, as they walked by. Few people took notice, and some even showed concern for my perceived condition; however, for the most part, the overarching response was apathy. It was important for me that this work not only engaged in questions surrounding the spectacle of black death and collective trauma perpetuated through the media but to be in dialogue with the existing history of the place, in this case, placing the work within the green space between the St. Louis Arch and the
Old Courthouse. It is often overlooked that the east steps of the Old Courthouse are the site where hundreds of slaves were sold in antebellum St. Louis and the biography of the Arch reveals that a thriving African American community was demolished and displaced in order to erect the Gateway to the West. Inserting this performance within these historical narratives allowed me the opportunity to display the complexity of how we are still wrestling with the aftermath of the choices made by those who have laid the foundation for life in St. Louis. We would be remiss to assume that such a history has no bearing on the sociopolitical climate that exists here and to overlook the consequences that the past still has on our daily experiences. As I knelt at the intersection of such histories I realized that there was power in my presence. My body functions as a totem that serves as both a marker for collective and personal
Alex Rivierre, #IAMTHEFLAG Courthouse Performance (image courtesy of the artist)
trauma, but also asserts value through resistance towards standards of oppression. Through portraiture and performance, I want to counter the narrative of the black body being a perceived threat, vulnerable to the acts
of violence enacted against it, and instead, declare that I/ we am/ are worthy and should be revered. www.alexsrivierre.com
A GARDEN OF THOUGHT By Nicole Cooper
Sometimes a walk through the garden is like the meditative thinking process that happens in the studio.
similar to the protists that are a common ancestor to plants and animals. You could call us cousins, a few million times removed. Millennia ago these protists filled the atmosphere with oxygen, allowing life to spring forward like never before! Oxygen enabled multicellular organisms to develop, and the rest is history (if you’re into Darwin, that is). What time and biology do together is breathtaking!
The scent of golden spring daffodils is a welcome sign of life springing forth after winter hibernation. Green shoots poke their heads from the wet soil as the world wakes up. The smell of life in the air makes breathing extra sweet.
The garden is a celebration of life where we reflect on our own living cycles. Plants undergo birth in spring, blossoms mature in summer, seeds disperse in fall, with death or hibernation over winter. This cycle of life, death, and rebirth aligns with the human experience. To take it a step further, our existence is intertwined with that of plants. Let’s go back to that breath of fresh air we just took in the garden. With every breath, we inhale what they “exhale” and vice versa. It’s a connected system that’s been evolving for millennia. You may be surprised to discover that plants and trees around us contribute to only a fraction of the oxygen we breathe. Most of Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton, tiny photosynthesizing ocean plants. Yes, that one breath connects us to the ocean on a global scale. Strangely enough, phytoplankton is
Nicole Cooper, Interwoven, (courtesy of the artist) COMMUNITY VOICES
Nicole Cooper, Breathe Forward, (courtesy of the artist) SUMMER 2019 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 18
Let’s switch our thinking from a macro scale to micro. With every breath, molecules of oxygen travel into our lungs, weave through our bodies, and mix with the food we eat to create energy to power the little building blocks in our body. Carbon dioxide—a byproduct produced by our cells—is exhaled out of the lungs, becoming available for absorption by plants. Now we’ve connected the loop back to photosynthesis. Imagine each particle of air as if it were attached to a thread. That thread weaves in, through, and out of our bodies, literally tying us to the environment around us. This concept is most evident in the painting Interwoven. A figure stands chest forward, the flesh a myriad of expressive brushwork that describes a living
body. The lungs open abstractly as painted strands of air flow in and out in an exploration of respiration. By breaking down the barrier between what is inside and out, it questions where we truly begin and end. My figurative Body in Bloom paintings use energetic brushwork, vivid colors, and unfurling layers of painted flesh to explore humanity as a living, growing force. The bloom represents the vibrancy of life. Flesh of the painted figures is often reminiscent of the way a flower blooms toward the sun. In Breathe Forward a central, life-sized figure painted in reds, pinks, and greens dominates the canvas. Her arms are at her sides, wrists forward, palms open. She steps forward from a
group of figures behind her that seem to go on infinitely into a field of green. A bright glow emanates from nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. Flowing branches and puffy, yellow forms protrude from the chest to describe the flow of breath. These lung forms merge with the figures behind. Breath is essential to life. Life is gifted forward through generations that make up our ancestry. This painting considers breath from seconds to centuries. See work from this series at the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center, June 13th - July 18th.
SOUTH CITY SEEDS FOR ART GROWTH By Kathy Ann Duffin
Art springs forth in unexpected places. Some savvy local businesses in the Tower Grove Park area of South St. Louis enhance their spaces by displaying homegrown art. The Royale Food & Spirits (3132 South Kingshighway), dubbed ”South City’s Living Room,” is known for craft cocktails and delicious food, but the atmosphere is what keeps the crowds coming back. Evocative art on the walls is an important part of the welcoming vibe.
Samantha Hunerlach, curator of art for The Royale, explains, “my goal is to create an accessible space for people to see and purchase art, and to provide opportunities for both emerging and experienced artists to reach a broad audience.” The Royale features a new artist every six weeks, showing painting, printmaking, photography, textiles and more. Another local favorite, Hartford Coffee (3794 Hartford) exhibits a steady rotation of local artists and hosts receptions where artists and guests can meet and mingle. Hours at Hartford Coffee extend from the early morning into the evening, providing plenty of opportunity to eat, drink and take in the art displayed. The Bricoleur, Art, Antiques and Repurposed Goods (3400 Cherokee) is named for the French concept of a bricoleur: one who shapes the beautiful and useful from that which is unused and discarded. Some of the “bricoleured” goods are works of art in themselves, particularly the creative lighting crafted from a surplus of lampshades and 19 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SUMMER 2019
Stolen Supply installation at The Royal (top), Lulu’s Local Eatery (bottom), (photo credit: Kathy Ann Duffin)
photography equipment. Thoughtful displays of these items, along with vintage, antique, and repurposed goods, are dotted with artworks by locals presented on the shop walls and shelves. The Bricoleur opened in September 2018, and plans to expand in size soon, adding more display space and featuring solo art exhibits. Lulu’s Local Eatery (3201 South Grand) isn’t just offering up vegetarian deliciousness. Jerome Gaynor’s graphic ink on paper scenes provided food for thought throughout the spring with artwork titles like Gentrification Feels Totally Different Depending on Who You Are. Political posters and fliers for upcoming COMMUNITY VOICES
Hartford Coffee (top), The Bricoleur (bottom right), (photo credit: Kathy Ann Duffin)
meetings and events hang alongside the work of local artists providing testimony to the neighborhood’s vibrancy. These are just a few of the fertile art spots in one segment of the city where local art takes root and where the local community is nurturing its own artists and art collectors.
PODER DE LA FLOR (FLOWER POWER) By Zuania Muñiz-Meléndez
Zuania Muñiz-Meléndez, a photographer from Puerto Rico, exhibited a stunning collection of portraits at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles last winter. My photographic compositions are composed to inspire contemplation of the intimate dialogue between nature and human beings. This project is based on the philosophy of the aesthetic movement of the mid-19th century in England, where the cult of beauty and sensuality was sought, often through the incorporation of floral elements. Within this framework I aim to represent the importance of recognizing nature as part of ourselves, to relate to it, to appreciate it, and to contemplate it.
I arrange the flowers to engage with the human body. These meticulous arrangements are placed in situ when I compose the photograph. The beauty, grandeur, and glory inherent within tropical flora is then bestowed upon the human subject. Each photograph displays the symbiotic relationship between
My creative process begins with the Spanish language, particularly the definite article that precedes the name of each flower. In Spanish, this article is gendered, varying between the male el and the female la. For example, while creating the photograph that features an oak flower—in Spanish, el roble—I used male body parts to correspond to the flower’s definite article. On the other hand, while preparing the bougainvillea—la trinitaria—I used female body parts. My intention is not to make a statement on gender or sex, but to highlight the morphology of the language.
human beings and flora. The human body juxtaposed with colorful flowers is a celebration of our humanity and the joy of life.
Zuania’s Muñiz-Meléndez, La Bellísima, (image courtesy of the artist)
ART ADDICT IN THE WIDE OUTDOORS By Xander Millsap
What dawns upon me is an unmistakable sense of potentially worthwhile theft. In truth there is no process but rather a desire to make visual rhyme from the piece of happenstance that I have taken. This project arose from a spontaneous insight that a particular photograph could embody a living quality similar to that of a playing card. After trial and error I found that there are peculiar geometries which take on a playful harmony when paired with an inverted version of themselves. I became addicted to the strangely motile shapes that I was building and then sought to make something cohesive from
them. The cards seem to induce a disorienting effect akin to vertigo upon the viewer as they attempt to work out a sense of up and down from the imagery. I am delighted by the puzzled expressions I see on viewers seeking to identify the subject matter. Making them also provides me with the immediate service of a kind of visual therapy.
Xander Millsap describes his engagement with the world around him through juxtaposed pictures he takes throughout his daily life.
Xander Millsap, Untitled, (left), Untitled, (right), (images courtesy of the artist) COMMENTARY
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GROWN OUT OF NECESSITY By Terrell Dickerson
When I think about community gardens I visualize this plant prison in some gentrified neighborhood, but the concept has been around for thousands of years. The communal rice paddies of the Asian regions of the world have existed as long as recorded human history. The indigenous people of the Americas have been growing their own food in shared spaces for thousands of years. In the 19th century immigrants disembarked from ships with fruits and vegetables from their home and, once settled into their pockets of the cities, started growing the foods of the homelands.
Benton Park Community Garden, (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
The idea of community gardens became a real thing in America around the time of the Great Depression because obviously it was a necessity to grow enough food to feed your entire borough. Neighborhood gardens became really popular in St. Louis and other cities in 1970s. This was a way to get the community involved in beautification projects while also providing nutritional information and delicious food to participants. I can remember when I was a kid growing up in one of these neighborhoods in St. Louisâ€™ 19th ward and Alder person Cecilia Grant lived across the street from me in the biggest house on the block, what I thought was a mansion at the time. She was very involved in the bettering of not just our block but the entire surrounding area. Alder Grant owned this enormous lot next door to her and had the biggest garden I had ever seen! It had almost every vegetable you could name, and people in the neighborhood would help her maintain it, tilling the soil, pruning the plants, harvesting, I was one of those people. She was also chairman of the 4-H club which was an
organization that promoted teaching children about horticulture and permaculture and I also was a member. We would go around the city teaching kids about the importance of nutrition and healthy living. It was so much fun. As I got older and had a child of my own, naturally I wanted to share my love of gardening, so when my daughter turned five years old we planted her first garden. We went out to the backyard, grabbed a hoe and made rows of dirt, took the seeds I'd bought and placed each one in its own little hole, then covered them up. A couple mornings later we went out to the yard to check on our Daddy/Daughter Garden and she was astounded! A few of the seeds we'd planted actually started flowering. She couldn't believe that the seeds had turned into plants. Today she still talks about that moment (She's 25years-old now)!
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