Everywhere and Elsewhere II: Painting in St. Louis

Five Painters On Viewimage

At Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery through February 12.

Paintings by Mike Behle, Angelina Gualdoni, Dan Gualdoni, Ron Laboray and Nancy Newman Rice.

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Relic-Quarry: New Work by Amy Reidel

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A sense of ritual and pervasive threat connects the multimedia works in Amy Reidel’s exhibition Relic-quarry.  Just inside the semi-dark gallery along one long wall, a video repeatedly shows a huge, approaching tornado.  Prostrate on the gallery floor below this video, life-size silhouettes of a man and a woman stretch out helplessly in poses reminiscent of the death-thro casts of the victims buried in Pompeii.  Reidel’s figures are literally flattened on a fluffy white rug that references their domestic life and relationship.

Lying in state against the opposite wall, a life-size figure on what seems to be a funeral bier is draped with a custom-woven cloth covered with weather radar patterns.  This weather radar reference continues on several large, brightly colored oil paintings; one painting is a self-portrait showing the artist’s face covered with the abstract shapes of radar.  Strangely, Reidel’s painted face seems to shift and move as it projects undecipherable emotion.  Strategically placed on a pedestal beneath the self-portrait is a display of homegrown, brightly colored crystals and geodes.  By their careful arrangement, they invoke a protective and otherworldly ritual.  Both simple and mesmerizing, these crystals have a magical effect.

Nearby, eerie, disembodied hands, cast from life, rest quietly upon a neon green object that mimics a folded American flag, but without the specific markings that would identify it.  Suggesting death, grief and loss, this existential feeling is picked up in the second video; here, an anonymous couple reverently folds a flag covered with weather radar imagery.  As this scene loops continuously, the sound track plays a haunting hybrid of chanting and otherworldly moaning.

A final piece consists of an entire wall covered with small-framed experimental sketches, altered photos and images of various everyday objects, people and radar patterns.  This works as a representation of Reidel’s thought-processes and also as a massive petition, such as found in churches, seeking sense and some control in a world that is undecipherable.

Review by Margaret Keller

Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery  11333 Big Bend  St. Louis, MO

 

Saponified/flag

 

Saponified, hands cast, flag

Aftermath, video

 

Aftermath, video