Friday, December 16, 2016

Artist Collectives

For the last exhibitions of the year, two artist collectives,  Good Children Gallery and The Front in the St. Claude Arts District offer a variety of works, from paintings to installations, videos and sound art.
The front room's wide space at Good Children is filled with Christopher Saucedo's installation for his exhibition Water Bottle Buoy, New Sculpture That Floats. Three wood coffins piled up at the entrance introduce the show. The Caribbean blue colored boxes, branded with shapes of water bottles on the sides and melting continents on the lids, remind us of a future overshadowed by rising waters and of our inescapable end. Buoys, anchors and ropes are the materials assembled to create the sculptures. The buoys are made of over-sized polystyrene bottles, a reference to the main source of the Oceans' pollution. The sculptor, modern Archimedes, turned the equivalent of his body volume into one of the buoys after dipping in a vat filled with water and engaged his close relatives to do the same. The resulting display is a family portrait of a sort. The cursed artist who lost his house during hurricane Katrina and then more of his cherished possessions to hurricane Sandy, cannot get away from water. His resulting fears are alleviated by the ropes, solidly anchored umbilical chords
which allow drifting safely with the flow.  A blanket from the Red Cross is hanging on the wall, for added comfort. Treating serious matters with a twist of humor, through the rich conceptual installation the artist communicates his ambivalence about the unpredictable and destructive element, the water we are made of and we cannot live without.
Dan Tague, famous for discovering hidden messages in dollar bills, presents new works in the back room of the gallery. The main composition is an assemblage of cuttings from diverse foreign bills, each outlined by a black skull. Flowers, stars, abstract drawings, symbols, become elaborate colorful tattoos. The message however is somber, in short, money or its pursuit = death.  "The End is Near", a stern warning spread on a monochrome black piece made with graphite is faced by "I Should be Loyal to the Nightmare of our Choice", a pledge to empty or worse, nightmarish causes, written in red. But enough said, the artist makes his point clear.

Four new paintings from Brooke Pickett are displayed at The Front, across the street. The large pieces with their skewed perspectives are vertiginous, dizzying when looked at from a close viewpoint. A symphony of colors, from emerald green to blue, red, they are taking over two rooms of the gallery.
Back, the works from three artists, Jessica Vogel Brown, Joey Tipton and Johanna Warwick, are more experimental. Unshadowed  is about light. Through infinity mirrors, videos, mixed field recordings, photographs, they open a whole new world and help us see the unseen.

on view through January 8, 2017

photographs by the author:

view of the exhibition " Water Bottle Buoy, New Sculpture That Floats" from Christopher Saucedo
detail from Dan Tague installation
Jessica Vogel Brown "Banana Finger", 2016.