Monday, March 2, 2009

The 1st in a series of St. Louis area Art Reviews: "Soft", at Good Citizen Gallery

No, this is not the new look for this blog I had in mind- a change, to be sure, but merely a cleansing placeholder look- fresh, shiny, simple, and clear of distractions. And now, to tell you a little tale of a new gallery on Gravois, topped with a billboard. A BILLBOARD, for f's sake! Said billboard is unique, unprecedented for a St. Louis art gallery, and I'm sure, quite expensive; a promotional tool, kind of an elevated, Orwellian-supersized postcard ad for this flawlessly rehabbed and, by far innovative artspace.

Bear with me- it's almost 3 AM Sunday night, I just got back from a rewarding, yet challenging, yet rewarding painting session. My eyes are heavy after this long day, so expect, if you will, some run-on sentences and flowery platitiudes and misspellings because I am determined to tell you about one of the most innovative installations I have witnessed in St. Louis in quite a while.

Good Citizen Gallery, at 2247 Gravois, just south of downtown STL, features "Soft", an exhibit by Tennessean artist Hunt Clark, who first of all is one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth, and passionate practitioners of sculpture and video installation I have ever had the privilege to encounter (flowery platitudes, yes, but absolutely sincere...). His website, is a fascinating treasury of Clark's prodigious innovations, and the offering at Good Citizen likewise does not disappoint.

Picture soft, wispy, diaphanous sheets of nylon sewn together. Watch them be inflated by box fans into pillowy pipelines, billowy bulbous cushions, and puffy appendages. THRILL as suddenly, a stream of downtown Philadelphia storefronts careen up one of those pipelines, pouring onto the interstate, which spews out cars and semis from inside that big cushion. A flock of birds rise up from the undulating nylon inflated structure across the room, while dry leaves in the wind depart to the right, leading the eye up to another pipeline headed outside, above the front door, spilling out semis from a high-speed on-ramp. These video images and others are projected onto the inflated structures in the dim gallery from all angles, and as they stretch and skew across their surfaces, meld into each other, fade out, and trickle over the wrinkles, they form a most interactive, silent viewing experience, beckoning the viewer around the structures to see more. My favorite vignette, the most poignant region of this inverted universe, is a view of a forest clearing from below; the tops of trees blowing in the wind, poetically, rhythmically hypnotizing the viewer. They are a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the speeding cars and what not elsewhere. Hunt Clark demonstrates here a love of seeing and experiencing, and uses the inflated, dynamic structures as a not-so-passive silver screen, a surrogate for human sensory experience, which also undulates, quivers, and rapidly shifts its attention until it finds a quiet spot.

"Soft" will be on view from Feb. 27 to March 28, at Good Citizen Gallery.


1 comment:

Tony Renner said...

nice review, jeremy! keep 'em coming...!