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Review: New works at St. Claude galleries

D. Eric Bookhardt on new works at The Front and Good Children Gallery



For ages, prognosticators have pronounced painting dead, and for the same amount of time, painting has not only survived but thrived, often dominating the art world. According to, paintings accounted for 65 percent of art sales in the last year, more than all other media combined. Part of its appeal is the versatility of this most fluid and immediate of all media. Just as our Stone Age ancestors used cave paintings to attune themselves to the forces of nature, today's artists use paint to explore the perplexing new realities that surround us in a digital world that is ever more connected but also more ephemeral, even illusory.

  Jessica Bizer's new paintings explore what she calls "atmospheres" created by the way digital technology blurs the line between "ordinary and fantastical experience," qualities she neatly evokes using air brush techniques with her usual acrylic pigments. The results can range from pristinely buoyant works such as Hey You to darker realms in We're Having a Party (pictured), in which rich wine tones and paisley patterns hover like otherworldly life forms in search of some hedonistic fourth-dimension utopia.

  In Bonnie Maygarden's Virtuous Reality show at The Front, the ephemeral aura of techno culture is recreated in painterly abstractions that serve as meditations on the collision between art history's traditional hand-crafted values and the weird new world of synthetic imagery that exists all around us. Artist/musician Carl Joe Williams merges the electronic with the shamanic in his outdoor labyrinth-like installation of painted totemic sculptures that incorporate his music in an attempt to attain what he describes as, "A supernal place of introspection and a reminder of connection to all. ... I see music and art as extensions of each other, visual music with audible imagery." — D. ERIC BOOKHARDT

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