Showing posts for query jessica goldfinch. Show all posts
Showing posts for query jessica goldfinch. Show all posts

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Goldfinch at CoLAB

There are places, and not just in the Bible Belt regions of the Deep South and Midwest, where Jessica Goldfinch might be considered over the top. And it is also true that works like her statue of a visibly pregnant Virgin Mary are not likely to grace any local shrines anytime soon. Still, in a city where events like the Krewe du Vieux parade and Southern Decadence festival were hailed as proof that New Orleans had returned to “normal” after the floods of 2005, not much is considered shocking. And that’s a good thing, because it allows us to contemplate the deeper implications of her work rather than obsessing over superficialities.

Goldfinch’s HOLY CARD series is an exploration of religious, especially Roman Catholic, iconography rendered in Shrinky Dink media. Beyond saintly wonders, she also invokes modern scientific miracles in works like IMMACULATE OPEN HEART, a synthesis of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a modern surgical procedure. MOTHER OF SWORDS, above, is more Byzantine, a veiled Madonna with a Sacred Heart replete with connecting veins and arteries as well as six swords pressed to her breast all rendered like a colorful holy card, and it’s a tribute to the power of imagery that this looks more like an actual historical artifact than the speculative imaginings of a New Orleans artist. The hits keep on coming in another series that melds vintage fashion with anatomical infirmities. Here figures from a 1950s Vogue pattern book appear modified with leg or neck braces, even amputated limbs as seen in ENVY, and lest this be taken for some campy schadenfreude, it should be noted that Goldfinch herself endured a cardiac birth defect that went undiagnosed for 34 years despite frequent trips to the emergency room. Like the saints of yore, she relates to the suffering of others. Whether salvation is finally experienced in the form of divine or man-made miracles is ultimately a matter best left to the metaphysical proclivities of the beholder.

Through Sept. 27
CoLAB Projects, 527 St. Joseph St., 566-8999;

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Morbid Anatomy at Barrister's

It was an intriguing concept for an exhibition: "Morbid Anatomy: Examining the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and Culture." Guest curator Joanna Ebenstein set the tone by soliciting work dealing with "hysteria, reliquaries, phrenology, 'things in jars,' freaks, taxidermy, waxworks, magic lanterns, momento mori and the 'pathological sublime," subjects that somehow suggested a sideshow (or curiosity cabinet, as noted in the title) as much as an art show. Such things titillate at some deeply visceral level; their appeal is sensational with a bit of schadenfreude thrown in for good measure. Yet they can also elicit a sense of wonder, the common ground between carnival freak shows and the art of the museum. Which tendency would prevail, or would it matter?
Here the gallery becomes a theater for morbid extremes. Upon entering we are confronted by a group of white horse-like sculptures with canine heads, perhaps a pack of saber-tooth horse-wolves (left). The mental offspring of Daphne Loney, one with arrows piercing its body suggests a hallucination, perhaps St. Anthony's last nightmare on the desert. On the wall above it is an even stranger vision, a small sculpture by Eleanor Crook of a balding gent with contorted features and flipper-like arms: EUSTACHE “JERK” DUPREE, THE ICARUS MAN OF PONCHATOULA (top). A tragic figure, his expertly modeled form suggests nobility within futility, a thwarted passion to soar above the pain and indignity of his condition. On the wall just behind him is Chicory Miles' EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WANTED (top, far left), a painted, cast iron self-portrait of sorts, only here two torsos sprout from one pelvis, each with two arms and three pair of breasts, a highly maternal model for multi-tasking. Hanging like a Pennsylvania Dutch “hex” on the wall, Miles' duplex-doppleganger appears poised and self-assured. The remaining works such as Jessica Goldfinch's multidigital PRAYING HANDS, left, and Monique Ligons' ANATOMY OF PANTROGLODYTE, above, all have their own stories to impart. Suggesting a microcosm of earthly life, their foibles and anomalies are rendered largely and dramatically enough to make the rest of us feel much better about our own. ~D. Eric Bookhardt

MORBID ANATOMY: Gallery as Wunderkammer
Through June 6th
Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave., 525-2767;
Expanded from Gambit

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

H x W x D at UNO

Monday, March 23, 2009

You could call it an "alumni show," but it's really more momentous than that. HxWxD marks the 30th anniversary of the University of New Orleans' Masters of Fine Arts program and is also part of UNO's 50th anniversary celebration. Once a desolate former military base, UNO is now a cultural and economic engine with influence that extends far and wide. Because the 18 artists in this show span several decades, it's an expo that also traces the UNO school's stylistic evolution from its earlier pop abstraction and imagism to the playfully polemical postmodernism for which it is known today.

Of course not everyone fits neatly into either category. Allison Stewart's elegantly abstract, nature-based canvases are more decorously languid than anything we ordinarily associate with UNO, and Ted Calas's stark, near-monochromatic paintings of people in transitional moments of rumination are studies in Uptown existentialism. But Louisiana Imagism lives on in Krista Jurisich's socio-political fabric art, below, as well as in the work of Alan Gerson, whose creepily lovely still life paintings suggest the work of exiled Dutch Masters on mars.

But a pivot between pop abstraction and polemical postmodernism appears in the work of Peter Halley, left, whose recent paper studies hew closely to the grid-like schematics that he employed during his neo-geo insurgency in New York in the late 1980s, an art historical milestone that, with his thoughtful published writings, make him something of a philosopher king among painters.

The more playful side of UNO postmodernism appears in the tartly prankish paper currency-based prints of Dan Tague, as well as in the no less tartly prankish paper currency-based sculpture of Srdan Loncar. But a synthesis of postmodernism and imagism appears in Jessica Goldfinch's anatomically anomalous shrinky-dink holy cards such as ST. MARIAM WITH CHILD, right, as well as in Daphne Loney's CANDY DREAMS, above, part of her ongoing inquiry into the psychic correspondence between religious icons and animal trophies expressed in steel and Lucite. ~D. Eric Bookhardt

H x W x D: Thirty Years of MFA at UNO
Through March
UNO St. Claude Gallery, 2429 St. Claude Ave., 280-6493;
(Expanded from Gambit Weekly)