Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Pawel Wojtasik at P.2 and T-Lot open studios

Posted by on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Pawel Wojtasik video installation at Prospect.2
  • Pawel Wojtasik video installation at Prospect.2

With its tall arched windows, the Delgado Community College art gallery is one of the more imposing local art spaces, but lately it has become a darkened cavern. Once inside, you are in a circular audio-visual environment surrounded by moving panoramic views of area wonders such as the petrochemical corridor, the Huey P. Long Bridge and ravaged portions of the Lower 9th Ward. The bleak vistas are balanced by views of the natural bounty of swamplands, the vast Mississippi River and its eternal parade of ships, as well as pulsating city streets throbbing with the passing pageant of colorful humanity for whom all the city is a stage — and on a good day many are in costume. Polish expat Pawal Wojtasik’s magical video work captures this as a panoramic ballet of people and things in motion, as a gliding and pirouetting, expanding and contracting landscape where streets appear as compressed crystal ball vistas that suddenly expand to surround you with wide views of boulevards or bayous — or even the tiled minimalist delirium of the Harvey Tunnel (pictured). All in all, it recalls both the metaphysical grit of Jim Jarmusch’s movie Down By Law and the rhapsodic pacing of Walt Whitman’s lyrical visionary evocations of American life. Wojtasik calls it a “love poem,” and like all ideal love, it is unconditional.

One of the great things about biennials is how they inspire art communities to step up their game, and the artists of the T-Lot studios responded by allowing visitors in on weekends. The occupants of this aesthetic beehive provide surprising offerings ranging from techno-pagan altars and pre-fab ruins to flow charts of fun over the course of a lifetime, as well as a variety of mechanical-sculptural mystery objects. You never know what you’ll see, but it’s a great place to be surprised.

Below Sea Level: Prospect.2 video installation by Pawel Wojtasik
Delgado Community College Fine Art Gallery, 615 City Park Ave., 671-6377
Though Jan. 29

Parallel Play: Open Studio Exhibitions by T-Lot Artists
T-Lot Studios, 1940 St. Claude Ave., phone n.a.
noon - 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through Jan. 31

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