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Review: Intrusive Thoughts

Work by Daphne Loney, Myrtle von Damitz III and other new exhibits on St. Claude Avenue



Daphne Loney's sculpture exhibitions long have resembled trophy rooms filled with improbable beasts from the realm of the imagination. Fairy tales featuring mythic creatures survived over the ages because their dark paradoxes often share parallels with the real world, and Loney underscores those parallels with works like a white unicorn trophy head that might be a Disney-esque picture of innocence if not for its lethal horn and a bleach-blonde mane that somehow suggests Lady Gaga. Nearby, Siamese twin stag heads joined at the neck sport gilded copper eyes and horns like crowns of thorns in an allegory of conflicting impulses titled Hostile Dependence (pictured). These works convey a weird mix of guilt and innocence typified in Intrusive Thoughts, a sculpture of a young stag whose copper antlers sprout a geyser of gossamer metal tendrils. The stag seems oblivious to a nearby wolf stealthily stalking its preoccupied prey.

  Contemporary fabulists take their cues from the world around them. Myrtle von Damitz III is unusually sensitive to the gravitational waves that wash over her Louisiana and Oregon home turf, revealing the curious life forms she records for our perusal. Main Street Maya is an allegorical tableau with a pregnant widow draped in black skulking past a spectral Christmas tree and shop windows festooned with ravens. Summer in Oregon features a gnome in a boat floating over a pond inhabited by humanoid life forms, but Integrated Past Management features fearsome humanoid heads emerging from the soil like earth spirits cursing the sky. What it means is up to us — von Damitz merely reports what she sees — but she sees more than most of us ever will.

  Other intriguing St. Claude Avenue exhibitions include the massive La Femme show at the New Orleans Art Center, and the UNO St. Claude Gallery's 10,000 RPMs exhibit featuring the remnants of a Tony Campbell and Matt Vis performance starring a motorcycle with two opposing chassis sharing one front wheel, furiously burning rubber.

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