As much as abstract art can be said to be "about" anything, Sidonie Villere's new Camouflage series suggests something of life's tensions and contradictions. Made of canvas, paint, gauze, porcelain, string and wax, these ethereal white-on-white mixed-media concoctions are mostly minimal but with occasional baroque flourishes. Building on Villere's past references to the contours of soft skin and hard earth, they evoke a social dimension — an interplay of blending in and standing out, even as they seem to reiterate associations of geology and biology, deserts and beaches, fabric and bandages — that resonates in the depths of our collective memories.
With and Without (pictured) is a series of five rectangular panels wrapped in white gauze. They almost hark back to Donald Judd's iconic minimalist sculptures, but their varying dimensions and porous white surfaces give them a more personal and tropical aura. Two feature smaller panels pressing forward against the gauze like pregnant flesh against soft fabric, so where Judd was unyielding, Villere defines and personalizes related forms, adapting them to a more fluid and feminine environment. Similar strategies appear in Discipline, a series of minimalist, flat, white ceramic vessels wrapped in white cord that radiate a frisson of contradictions. Ultimately, Villere's work suggests unspoken mysteries that express themselves in many ordinary, or extraordinary, ways.
Steve Rucker, a longtime Loyola art instructor and
part-time musician/songwriter, is fascinated by nature. His Storm
Song Variations features 45 colorful ceramic abstractions, each
supported by three black steel legs. Spiraling within the gallery like
the outer bands of a hurricane, they possess elements of beauty and
menace. But rather than depicting rampaging elements, they suggest the
inner spirits of such events as they seem to march relentlessly forward
like so many apocalyptic nightmare horsemen from the storms of myth and
CAMOUFLAGE: New Paintings and Sculpture by Sidonie Villere
Through March 28
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400a Julia St., 522-5471; www.jonathanferraragallery.com
STORM SONG VARIATIONS: Recent Drawings and Sculpture by W. Steve Rucker
Through March 28
Arthur Roger@434, 434 Julia St., 522-1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com