Art critics don't usually review graduate student shows, but some recent ones have been so striking they break the mold and cause us to reconsider. Michelle Basta's all too brief expo at Tulane's Carroll Gallery was a case in point, as is Kourtney Keller's Lumensecity at UNO's St. Claude Gallery, a show presenting provocative explorations of the world around us. One video series features trains on which ghostly images of people, either running in place or making faces, were projected as the freight cars slowly creaked through Bywater. Railroad officials did not understand what Keller was doing and were so spooked they told her to immediately cease and desist. Next to those videos is Drive In Evitable Model Train Set, an actual model train with a mini-projector flashing those same images on scale model freight cars. Another video, Jewel Spew (pictured), takes us to a science fiction realm where an otherworldly female appears to be barfing diamonds as she sways her head from side to side. Behind Bars features a black-and-white striped female trapped in a kind of bar-code fantasyland from beyond the looking glass. Keller excels at creating elaborate environments where electronic technologies reinterpret mundane realities as multi-layered mythologies.
More video and mixed-media works appear in Projection Bias at Antenna. Here Courtney Fathom Sell's Erotic Symphony melds innocent, everyday images and porn-inspired sequencing in a video diptych reminiscent of early Stan Brakhage. Michael Anderson's Endless Summer, a video loop of flawlessly homogenous females modeling equally generic sportswear, contrasts neatly with Nonetheless, Stephen Kwok's video footage of female runners highlighting sexually ambiguous South African gold medalist, Caster Semenya, as biologists on the soundtrack drone on about gender bending chemicals increasingly found in the environment. Curated by Robin Atkinson, Projection Bias explores the secret life of commonplace images. — D. Eric Bookhardt
Lumensecity: Recent Video and Mixed Media by Kourtney Keller
Through May 1
UNO St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave., 940-1109; arts.uno.edu/artpage.html
Projection Bias: Video and Optical Works Group Show
Through May 2
Antenna, 3161 Burgundy St., 393-5588; www.press-street.com/antenna