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Work by Maria Levitsky and Natalie Tobacyk at UNO St. Claude Gallery


Life in cities is about navigating structures. We dart around in cars or on bikes dodging each other as the cityscape whizzes by. We mostly see what we need to see, orienting ourselves within patterns of motion, noting the landmarks that mark our progress. That transformation of landscapes into structures, and structures into forms observed in passing, is what defines "modern" life — a process of constant reorientation in time as well as space, as motion becomes a constant. Maria Levitsky's photomontages reflect that process as particular places and spaces are sliced and diced, then reassembled in accordance with the inner logic of the mind's eye, the subjective GPS of the psyche. The steel skeleton of an industrial building seems to levitate in articulated segments in Collusion of Redundant Obstacles, suggesting a time-lapse birth-to-death ballet of bare steel girders coming together and then coming apart. Uncanny Mirror features the ordinary yet elegant elements of antique New Orleans residences montaged into fragments as if reflected in a shattered mirror or a nihilist kaleidoscope. But Treme Mystery House (pictured) takes us to the elegant decadence of the 19th century in ghostly interior spaces where the walls and stairs go their own whimsical ways in an anachronistic puzzle palace — a Creole townhouse where past and present cohabit the same timeworn spaces like sleepwalkers, intersecting in passages and stairways that seem to lead to unknowable other dimensions.

  Natalie Tobacyk's Perceptions series includes a striking sculpture of stacked folding chairs like a latter-day constructivist monument to the history of public meetings, those anonymous ephemeral gatherings for purposes often soon forgotten. Her investigation of things quotidian is further explored in prints, paintings and sculptures based on random arrangements of plastic bags, the most disposable of everyday objects. Some are full but others are just imprints of bags outlined in oozing pigment, afterimages of the lowest items in our consumer caste society, democratically memorialized for posterity. — D. ERIC BOOKHARDT

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