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.


Relic-Quarry: New Work by Amy Reidel


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, hands cast, flag

Aftermath, video


Aftermath, video