Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: new work at St. Claude Avenue galleries

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Check Out: Who Am I? by Sarah Amacker
  • Check Out: Who Am I? by Sarah Amacker

Are people becoming more generic? Like it or not, we are increasingly wired into an invisible world of electronic networks that know way too much about us. How long before they take over and turn us into hi-def replicas of ourselves? Such are the thoughts inspired by Sarah Amacker’s graphically modified photos that stylishly flatten her subjects into two dimensions. Some even have bar codes. Self Check Out: Who Am I? (pictured) is emblematic, a geometrically exaggerated high-fashion babe with no doubt perfect teeth somewhere behind the big bar code that displays her identity as a commodity. Even the ones without bar codes are flat and geometric. Yet as commodities in their own right, Amacker’s photographic concoctions are shockingly inexpensive. What gives? It seems that in real life she’s a Baton Rouge biologist who does art on the side. Perhaps she is an evolutionary biologist, a savant warning us of what we may all become in the not so distant future.

More graphical extrapolations appear at Barrister’s Gallery, in Wendell Brunious’ Buried Alive painterly pop collages of comic strip characters interwoven with visions of black female stardom, most pointedly in the form of Whitney Houston. Something about the way this is layered is both musical and wavelike, suggesting a visual dirge for the drowned diva. The mood turns ambiguous in Vanessa Centeno’s abstract compositions where viscous reds vie with more bilious shades in works mingling saturated sensuality with creepy science fiction overtones. If this sounds noir, it is, and Ryn Wilson’s large pseudo film stills of elegant women carrying valises deep into foggy forests, or appearing only as a pair of shapely lifeless legs under a blue velvet dress, convey a darkly atmospheric romanticism, a hint of looming oblivion accompanied, implicitly, by an elegant soundtrack.

Through Oct. 9
Pop Art: Mixed-media graphics by Sarah Amacker
Byrdie’s Gallery, 2422A St. Claude Ave., (504) 656-6794

Through Oct. 6
This is How We Roll: UNO graduate student work curated by Dan Tague and Tony Campbell
Barrister’s Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave., (504) 710-4506

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