You could call it an alumni show, but it's more momentous than that. HxWxD marks the 30th anniversary of the University of New Orleans' Master of Fine Arts program and also is part of the school's 50th anniversary celebration. Once a desolate former military base, UNO is now a cultural and economic engine with influences extending far and wide. Because the 18 artists in this show span several decades, it's an expo that traces the school's stylistic evolution from earlier pop abstraction and imagism to the playfully polemic postmodernism for which it is known today.
Of course, not everyone fits neatly into either category. Allison Stewart's elegantly abstract, nature-based canvases are more decorously languid than anything we ordinarily associate with UNO. Ted Calas' stark, near-monochromatic paintings of people in transitional moments of rumination are studies in Uptown existentialism. But Louisiana imagism lives on in Krista Jurisich's socio-political fabric art as well as in the work of Alan Gerson, whose creepily lovely still-life paintings suggest the work of exiled Dutch masters on Mars.
A pivot between pop abstraction and polemic postmodernism appears in the work of Peter Halley. His recent paper studies hew closely to the grid-like schematics he employed during his neo-geo insurgency in New York in the late 1980s, an art milestone that, with thoughtful published writings, made him something of a philosopher king among painters.
The more playful side of UNO postmodernism appears in the tartly prankish paper currency-based prints of Dan Tague, as well as in the no less tartly prankish paper currency-based sculpture of Srdjan Loncar. A synthesis of postmodernism and imagism appears in Jessica Goldfinch's anatomically anomalous Shrinky Dinks holy cards such as St. Mariam With Child, as well as in Daphne Loney's Candy Dreams (pictured), part of her ongoing inquiry into the psychic correspondence between religious icons and animal trophies expressed in steel and Lucite.
UNO-St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave., 280-6493; www.uno.edu