Wednesday, November 26, 2014
P.3, P.3+ at the Saint-Claude Art District
The pink labels from Prospect.3, Prospect.3+ and even P.9 (see photograph at the end of the post!) are also spread in the Saint-Claude Art District. Regardless, my monthly tour included all the galleries, as usual: Antenna, The Front, Barrister's Gallery...
I arrived just on time to see the performance from Robyn Leroy-Evans at The Front. A slumped mannequin and a couch were the only props under the trees in the gallery's backyard. Was I early? The conversations faded and we waited, sitting in rows of chairs, gazing at the red dress rolled up around the upper half of the mannequin. The silence was interrupted by an occasional dog's bark. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. Was the artist late? An imperceptible quiver livened up the dummy's belly and grew to a regular, deep breathing. One leg rose slowly followed by the second leg. They looked like the appendages of a strange creature, floating gently, anchored to a red inert piece. After a few variations, they came back to rest. This was the end of an hypnotic, fascinating, half-hour performance, Body Sculpture II. In her practice, Leroy-Evans is not only the actor, she is also the eye behind the camera. Using the self-timer, she photographs herself wearing bright clothes from head to toes, sculpting her body in different poses to become an attractive flower, a venomous plant or else, surrounded by nature. Her works with those of Naomi Shersty and Ryn Wilson are displayed in one room for Oppositions and Parallels. The exhibition brings together the three photographers who share "a mutual fascination with the relationship between environment and self". The adjacent area is filled with photographs from Edna Lanieri, incorporated in two new works, ŚuĐina and Ricordare. They represent a ritualistic approach to death, heavily influenced by the artist's Italian roots. Leaving the gallery, Lee Deegard's installation is a reflection on destruction, rebirth, healing, through nature. Her photographed landscapes are connected by yellow lines filled with energy and life. They meet on the grey floor of the gallery which alludes to an interstate, a scar left by human intervention on the natural world.
Staple Goods offers a one woman show with Suspension of Disbelief , a display of Cynthia Scott’s latest work. Forget carving, chiseling or pedestals, Scott's sculptures float in space and invade the gallery like alien ships, each carrying a different message. Scott gets her supplies at the Dollar Store and creates brightly colored compositions to deliver somber news. Following her previous body of work related to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf, this time, she is addressing a wider audience, voicing her concerns about our planet’s future with six sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Race relationship, transgenic food, food supply, overpopulation, she tackles grave subjects with wit and humor. For example, the transgenic apples fall to the ground below a dead canary, the doll-size pink gown is surrounded by pink kitchen sponges, black and white king cake babies are piled up in a half earth globe. Scott's message is simple and clear. She does not have answers, but her work keeps raising burning issues.
At the occasion of Prospect.3, the University of New Orleans-St. Claude Art Gallery is hosting The Propeller Group with Christopher Myers. The video from The Propeller Group titled The Living Need Light, And The Dead Need Music, 2014, is about funeral practices in Vietnam. The scenes have been selected carefully to a point of craftiness. In parallel, Christopher Myers presents Shrine, an installation which includes spotless musicians' uniforms and shiny modified instruments that will never be played. The point of the project is to find common funeral practices between New Orleans and Saigon, "two cities, two cultures mirroring each other but worlds apart". The artists could have documented grief, emotions on both sides and their expressions through music and common rituals.
On my way, I saw this venue on St Claude Avenue, a reminder of the area's frail recovery.