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Sidonie Villere and W. Steve Rucker

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  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 memory.

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

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