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Review: Concerted Effort and Homelessness: The Definitive Collection

D. Eric Bookhardt on works by Daniel P. Alley, Srdjan Loncar and Charles “Beau” Hoffacker

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Thru Dec 6

Concerted Effort: Metal sculpture and assemblage by Daniel P. Alley and Srdjan Loncar

Homeless: The Definitive Collection: Paintings on cardboard by Charles "Beau" Hoffacker

Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave., (504) 710-4506; www.barristersgallery.com

Concerted Effort and Homeless: The Definitive Collection

As we enter the holiday season of giving, it seems like more Americans are recovering from the recent recession, yet the presence of homeless people hustling for a handout persists like a Dickensian flashback. Passersby avert their eyes, as if trying to make the panhandlers invisible, but New Orleans Police Department homicide detective Charles "Beau" Hoffacker not only engages with the homeless, he buys their cardboard signs and paints their portraits on them, leaving bits of their scrawled pleas for help visible. An intriguing selection of such works is on view at Barrister's Gallery, and Hoffacker's sketchy yet deftly executed brushstrokes enable us to see his subject's human dimensions. Some may be addicts or psychologically impaired, and some may be war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but by painting them with such a skilled hand and empathetic eye, Hoffacker reveals their soulful auras. It does not remedy their hardship, but they no longer are invisible.

  In the adjacent exhibit of sculptural works by Daniel P. Alley and Srdjan Loncar, modern art plays tricks and nothing is what it seems. Inspired by mass-media imagery, Loncar fills a gallery space with languidly curved sheet aluminum sculptures with faux finishes like the oxidized steel minimalist sculptor Richard Serra uses in his similar, but much larger, installations. Loncar's replica flaunts its fakeness as a commentary on the pervasive appropriation of the digital age. Alley takes us to the Washington Monument, which recently reopened after its pyramidal tip was repaired. In this pristine installation, dozens of imperfect cast aluminum pyramids appear in a precisely lit display, a mini-jewelry showroom where they rest on glass shelves like so many variations on a theme. Rising from the floor, a majestic replica of the monument displays a perfect pyramid at its peak. One can't help but feel patriotic. — D. ERIC BOOKHARDT

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