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Review: True Colors

D. Eric Bookhardt on a group exhibition by LGBT artists at the Antenna Gallery


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Among the peculiarities that set this city apart is how identity issues, ethnicities and orientations can quietly become scrambled or overlap. Whether due to inclusiveness or laissez-faire attitudes, boundaries tend to blur over time. This year's True Colors expo not only added the letter "Q" for queer to its LGBT description but also "allied artists" to include miscellaneous others. Whatever the reason, this is the most relaxed yet dynamic local gender-based art show yet. Curated by Holis Hannan, it reflects Antenna Gallery's legacy of loose but edgy expositions. Keith Perelli's paintings based on Instagram selfies posted on Grindr — a GPS-based hookup app for gay men — is emblematic. Here Perelli's brush strokes imbue the motley menagerie with a striking quality of presence. Equally emblematic is Sarah Sole's hypothetical portrait of Hillary Clinton presiding over the wedding of two older men (pictured). Rendered in an expressionistic realist style, this is typical of New Orleans native Sole's hypothetical Hillary portraits, which have become an Internet sensation, while also conveying how once radical ideas can seem more ordinary as their advocates near their Medicare years.

Works by high-profile artists include an unusually philosophical tableau by George Dureau featuring a trio of Creole men as mythic creatures contemplating a clarinet atop a pedestal where Dureau's own ghostly visage appears as mysteriously as a stigmata. Works by Skylar Fein include a 2-D seriographic sculpture, Alison's Combat Boots, propped in a corner like some lost relic of the Village People. But it's often the more ambiguous pieces — like New Orleans Police Department officer and artist Beau Hoffacker's painting of an assault rifle draped in Mardi Gras beads, or Audra Kohout's stunningly psychological assemblages of vintage doll parts and miscellaneous flotsam in bell jars — that give this show its element of surprise. In a city where celebrity is more often a measure of flamboyant eccentricity than overt commercialism, True Colors is what the late Frank Davis might have called "naturally N'Awlins."


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