The great thing about the galleries along St. Claude Avenue is their unpredictability and the way potential genius is free to experiment. The annoying thing about St. Claude galleries is their unpredictability — not knowing if you'll see something great or half-baked. The Front has four connected spaces where artists can do their thing. This month, all four spaces hold work that is polished, or at least deftly realized, as we see upon entering and confronting India Jacobs' Future Mythologies series of prints and drawings. The recent Tulane University architecture graduate's work is based on her view of her native Los Angeles as a pricey, virtual reality rendition of the American Dream which she distills into sci-fi visions like Destination Airship Mechanics (pictured), a geometric rhapsody of scaffolds, cranes, slinky tubes and striated spheres rendered in Day-Glo colors. Similar components appear in Building the American Dream, but here they support an aerial golf course with helicopters, mysterious domes and surveillance devices hovering over the greens. As in Aerosol and Industrial Waste — a realm where monumental beauty parlor hair dryers and industrial cooling towers stand like Easter Island monoliths — we see a future based on current tendencies taken to their logical conclusions.
San Francisco native Jeffrey Thurston's ceramic sculptures suggest archaeological artifacts mingled with cityscapes, human bones and tiles from ancient civilizations, a perspective he says was inspired by the way Bay Area Rapid Transit offers odd, cutaway views of the city. Kyle Bravo's cartoons of his and his wife's daily life before and after the birth of their child are touching yet entertaining, a visual diary of the common yet wondrous journey. Kelly A. Mueller's abstracted views of wild boars and vultures and fishing trawlers at Shell Beach reflect such a knowing, visceral familiarity that it's hard to believe she's a Chicago transplant.