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New Orleans Museum of Art Exhibition George Dunbar: A Retrospective
November 3rd, 2016 - February 19th, 2017

This exhibition surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South.


George Dunbar: A Retrospective surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South. A New Orleans native, Dunbar studied in Philadelphia and Paris before returning to Louisiana in the 1950s to create paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and prints that marry the stark geometry of modern art with the lush, organic materials that evoke the state’s many swamps and bayous.


Dunbar’s richly textured works explore abstract art’s connection to landscape and place. George Dunbar: A Retrospective examines the evolution of Dunbar’s art from the 1950s, when he participated in a joint exhibition in Philadelphia with American abstract painter Franz Kline, to his most recent body of work in clay relief. The exhibition examines how Dunbar’s observations—as a bridge-builder, landscape architect, and urban planner—inform his unique approach to abstract art, and underscores Louisiana’s role within a more expansive story of 20th-century American art.


George Dunbar: A Retrospective also considers the rise of abstract art in New Orleans, featuring Louisiana modern artists who Dunbar influenced and inspired as well as works by internationally acclaimed American artists like Franz Kline and Mark Rothko, with whom Dunbar worked and studied. The exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition publication created in collaboration with George Dunbar, containing an in-depth interview with the artist and an essay that contextualizes his work within the history of 20th-century American art. NOMA also will create and present a documentary highlighting Dunbar’s body of work, creative influence, and artistic legacy.

"Review: James Flynn's Quantum Noûs at Callan Contemporary" Gambit

Quantum physics visualized as psychedelic art

by D. Eric Bookhardt


What does the Mississippi River have to do with quantum physics? That is a deep question. Neither is easy to fathom, but the easy answer has to be James Flynn. A former river pilot-turned-painter, Flynn's years spent deciphering the Big Muddy's inscrutable currents probably made it easier for him to relate to the physicists who spent decades investigating the elusive patterns of protons and particles on which quantum theory was based. In his paintings, the vortexes at the heart of quantum physics are dramatically represented in complex canvases that build on the 20th-century Op art legacies of Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while hinting at the peculiar visual parallels that quantum physics shares with the mind bending visual puzzles and black-light posters of the psychedelic 1960s.


In fact, graphical representations of the elusive Higgs boson particle that validated quantum theory at the Hadron particle collider in 2012 can look weirdly like the psychedelic patterns popular with the LSD generation as we see in Flynn's Eigenstate V Ultraviolet (pictured). Albert Einstein's quantum breakthrough occurred when he discovered that electromagnetic waves also could resemble particles, and Flynn's vividly luminous Pierrot and Harlequin at the Pareidolic Masked Ball celebrates that playful shape-shifting quality by relating it to the popular clown characters featured in the comical masked theater performances of 17th-century Europe. But the cultural history of shape shifting really dates back thousands of years to the esoteric Asian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism in which deities, like those of the classical Greeks, could assume various guises even while representing aspects of ancient wisdom — a sensibility embodied in the undulating interwoven geometry of Flynn's Heart Sutra — Form is Void and Void is Form. If that sounds confusing, it is really not all that different from the versatile digital technologies we take for granted every time we pick up a smartphone. Flynn just illustrates, brilliantly and vividly, the reasons why nothing ever is entirely what it seems.

Whitney White Linen Night 2016 New Orleans' biggest art outing, Aug. 6

By Doug MacCash, | The Times-Picayune
on July 06, 2016 at 1:15 PM, updated July 07, 2016 at 1:31 PM


Whitney White Linen Night, the annual August block party in the Warehouse District, is so popular you could call it The New Orleans Visual Art Festival. Based on police department estimates, the elegant crowd, which is customarily decked out in summer white, routinely reaches 40,000. 

Considering the popularity of White Linen Night, this year the Contemporary Arts Center, which manages the event, has expanded the duration of the street party by an hour, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The extra 60 minutes is meant to allow art lovers more time to peruse art venues or dine in the growing list of Warehouse district restaurants. The evening concludes with a dance party at the CAC from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.


The main attraction of the August 6 party is hopping from art exhibit to art exhibit in the galleries spread out along the 300 to 700 blocks of Julia Street, where visitors will find examples of the finest painting, sculpture, and photography from the region. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art at 925 Camp St. and the Contemporary Arts Center at 900 Camp St. also mount major exhibits in honor of the enormous art outing.


With wide-ranging group shows at the CAC, Ogden, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Boyd Satellite Gallery and other spaces, 2016 is a particular art-viewing bonanza. If you want to take the temperature of the New Orleans art scene in one outing, White Linen Night 2016 is the outing. Visit the CAC website for a rundown of all participating galleries.


Based solely on running my eyes down the preview list (and a few years of art-watching experience), the show recommend most is "New Wave," an installation by the brilliant Kyle Bravo and Jenny LeBlanc at Arthur Roger Gallery, 432-434 Julia St. 


The White Linen Night extravaganza began 22 years ago as a modest off-season Martini soiree featuring fine contemporary crafts. Over the years, the August gathering has become an important fund-raiser for the CAC, which benefits from the sale of drinks at street-side bars, sale of first class food at 25 outdoor restaurant booths.


Admission to the Julia Street gallery exhibits is, as always, free. Admission to the CAC is $10. And for those who don't mind paying extra for luxury during the four-hour gallery stroll, the CAC has conceived the "Cool Down Lounge," located at The Lighthouse, 743 Camp St. The $50 admission includes 2 complimentary drinks, snacks, private restrooms, air-conditioned seating and admittance to the CAC's concluding dance party.

James Kennedy Exhibition, "Shape-Shifting"



These paintings address a fascination with essential structures and arrangements,
whilst exploring the linguistics of music, mathematics, dance and architecture. Pattern recognition and manipulation are common themes, and involve the resolution of space within my own abstract vocabulary,in essence, solving spatial equations through paint. There are no premeditated maps prior to approaching a new work. The color merge and blending techniques carried from my earlier landscape series assist me in creating the tonal space my “systems” will eventually inhabit.It is the serendipitous convergence of space, color, and the lines that dissect them that form the core structure of the work.



Pablo Atchugarry Exhibition, "Città Eterna, Eterni Marmi"


From 22 May 2015 to 7 February 2016, the Museo dei Fori Imperiali – Mercati di Traiano in Rome will play host to the exhibition “Pablo Atchugarry. Eternal City, eternal marbles”, an important retrospective of the work of the Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, promoted by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Rome, the Capitoline Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the IILA (Italo-Latin American Institute) and the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, with the sponsorship of the Embassy of Uruguay in Italy. Visual and museum services organised by Zètema Progetto Cultura.


The exhibition consists of a collection of 40 works, including ten monumental pieces that will be exhibited in the open air. Almost all of these works have been sculpted from Carrara marble, a material that has served as an indispensable source for the unique masterpieces from Antiquity and the Renaissance found in Rome.

Atchugarry’s skill signals an intention to revive our ancient and magical relationship with statuary, using his delicately ascending compositions to evoke undeniable references to a classicism that belongs deep within us, nourishing the sensibility of those who admire the “eternal marbles”.

The Museo dei Fori Imperiali - Mercati di Traiano rightly belong to the list of legendary sites that preserve the vestiges of such a memory. The title of the exhibition, “Eternal City, eternal marbles”, refers unmistakeably to the use of Carrara statuary, stretching from the Rome of the Caesars to Michelangelo’s Renaissance and on through Bernini’s Baroque to the present day.

Admiring the monumental works on display in the open air offers an understanding of just how that journey of more than two thousand years has reached its logical conclusion here.

A work such as the Grande Angelo, sculpted in 2006, is capable of dispelling the image of a ghost in the hypothetical wings and, somehow, against the backdrop of ancient arches, accentuates a palpable outdoor vocation that defies spatial constraints. As we can deduce from a similar example, the pull of the figure, intertwined with the history of Carrara marble, constantly lingers in the work of Atchugarry as an ideal starting point from which to pursue the heights of the sublime that rests in the abstract transformation of a thought demanded by extraordinary references. But movement does not always move upwards. Pomona, sculpted in 1994, sees the blossoming of a bud of compactness at the centre of a form that crumbles all around it into multiple, pleasingly elegant folds. While Vertunno rests firmly on the ground before opening its fan of lateral flowers, where emptiness and volume alternate in a quest for lightness.

As a corollary, a similar number of smaller sculptures are also on display. Finally, the rooms located across the building’s four floors will be occupied by small compositions also sculpted from Carrara marble and the painted bronze recently favoured successfully by the Uruguayan artist.

The works create a dialogue between one another, forming connections without overwhelming the imposing nature of the backdrop; they are contextualised within the architectural space, keeping the magic alive.

These marble sculptures have finally found their optimal space and the immobility of time; the concept of equilibrium and harmony is not conditioned by the size of the sculptures, the themes tackled or the substance on which the sculptor’s invention is brought to bear. They feed the eternal creativity of the marble, proclaiming the glory we now have the wonderful and noble opportunity of admiring at the Museo dei Fori Imperiali.

"What’s going on in George Dunbar’s new work?", The New Orleans Advocate
November 18, 2015

By John D'Addario


If any visual artist in New Orleans has earned the title of “living legend,” it’s George Dunbar.


In a career spanning over 60 years, Dunbar has seen his work become the subject of two solo shows at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and it’s been added to the permanent collections of major institutions including NOMA, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the British Museum. And in 2008, he received a prestigious Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime contributions to art and culture in his home state of Louisiana.



At age 88, however, Dunbar isn’t resting on his considerable laurels. And “The Surge,” his current show at Callan Contemporary, features some of his most engaging works yet.
Occupying a space somewhere between painting and sculpture, Dunbar’s new mixed media pieces are made up of as many as two dozen layers of clay, pigment, and metallic leaf on panel. Dunbar then cuts into, scores, and “excavates” the layers using a variety of tools.


On the page or computer screen, Dunbar’s works can look like typical abstractions. But it’s their presence as three-dimensional works of art that sets them apart.


The surfaces of Dunbar’s pieces expand and, indeed, surge from the panels, each one dense with a network of cuts, scrapes, and gouges offset by the precise elegance of the artist’s application of color and metallic leaf. The combination of order and entropy is a hallmark of Dunbar’s work, and reflects how the natural motifs which inform his process similarly combine chaotic and random textures with an underlying geometric framework.


A mesmerizing (and wordless) video produced by the gallery to mark the occasion of the exhibit shows Dunbar creating several of the works in his studio.


The video also shows glimpses of the landscape around Dunbar’s home and studio on Bayou Bonfouca outside of Slidell, and conveys how natural elements and motifs from his surroundings landscape find their way into his work.


The rippling waves in a lily pond are echoed in the striations which intersect across the surfaces of works like “Des Glaices” and “La Rouge Grand”. The pattern in “Maurepas” recall the sinuous converging diagonal lines of a palmetto. And works like “Barataria” and “Laurent” give the impression of looking through a window to a sunrise or sunset reflected over a wetland landscape.


But it’s important to keep in mind that Dunbar’s approach to the subjects which inspire him is more impressionistic than strictly representational.


“I’m not someone who paints nature in a representational way,” said Dunbar in a statement about his current show, “but I do believe that living over the wetlands has influenced my work. During the storms I can see large, almost iceberg-like pieces of debris floating out the bayou. In an abstract way, you could find a relationship between those forms and the forms I seem to return to.”


And much of the power of the works in “Surge” derive from that sense of keen observation and lived experience that Dunbar manages to incorporate in his finished pieces. As such, and despite the formal qualities the works have in common, each one has its own distinct presence and mood.


“People like to ask me what my favorite piece is,” he said. “I tell them, ‘When you walk into your studio every day, you have to feel you haven’t made your best piece yet. There’s always an opportunity to do something different and better.’”

Bradley Sabin featured in Architectural Digest October 2015
October 2015




In the subtropical climate of New Orleans, flowers don't just grow, they practically explode, cascading over French Quarter balconies and scrambling up Garden District fences.  That lush scenerey inspires local ceramist Bradley Sabin, who conjures blossoms of his own sweeping wall installations.  "I'm constantly surprised by what I see in nature," he says.  Working in his home studio, Sabin individually sculpts and glazes each of the clay blooms - as many as 1,400 for a single project - that make up his teeming displays.  But the fun really begins when he arrives at a client's home and maps out the pattern in which the blossoms (each one screwed separately into the wall) will be arranged.  "Placing the flowers almost feels like I'm drawing," says the artist, whose work has caught the eye of decorators and collectors alike.  On October 8 his latest botanical beauties go on view in New York City, at the Voltz Clarke gallery's new Upper East Side location (, promising the space a fabulously fresh start. - Jacqueline Terrebone

Raine Bedsole: You Are the River - Mobile Museum of Art
November 2015 through October 2016

MOBILE, Ala., Oct. 7, 2015 – New Orleans-based artist Raine Bedsole returns to her hometown November 13, with a new site-specific installation for the Mobile Museum of Art.



The native Moblian’s earliest experiences on a farm inspired a lifelong interest in nature’s forms and textures, and continue to influence themes in her art. Incorporating materials and found objects that allude to the personal narratives that shape our lives, Bedsole marries material virtuosity with an uncommon sensitivity to myth and the power of natural form.
Raine Bedsole: YOU ARE THE RIVER is on view at the Mobile Museum of Art November 13, 2015 – October 30, 2016.  It has been made possible by grants from the C.D., Helen and Jeff Glaze Foundation, Jaguar of the Gulf Coast, the city of Mobile, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Raine Bedsole’s You Are the River is the first in a new series of site-specific installations by contemporary artists,” MMofA Director Deborah Velders notes. “Bedsole’s work is sheer visual poetry, offering the viewer a deeply moving, uplifting experience of beauty and light.”
Evocative, haunting and serene, Bedsole’s art whispers in the timeless language of mythology and symbolism.  Nautical imagery that informs the artist’s work harkens to the Egyptian barques that ferried souls into the afterlife, Norse longboats embodied with poignancy and romance, Native American canoes, and the raft that rescues us from harm and delivers us to safety.  They elicit the phenomenon of memory and the dynamic between the objects and experiences; those that anchor us to our past and those that liberate us to let go.

Recent recognition includes feature footage of her work in the final two Twilight movies, and grants for public art from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Jefferson Parish Public Art Initiative. Bedsole’s work is included in the collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art and the South Carolina Museum of Art, as well as many other public and private collections both nationally and internationally.

She received a Bachelor of fine art from Auburn University and a Masters of fine art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Returning to the South, Bedsole settled in New Orleans 20 years ago.



Louisiana Contemporary features four artists represented by Callan Contemporary

Callan Contemporary would like to congratulate


David Borgerding
Norah Lovell
Karoline Schleh
Keith Perelli 


on their acceptance into Louisiana Contemporary Preseneted by Regions Bank at the Ogden Musuem of Southern Art.


"Local Artist's Sculpture Installed on Poydras Street,"|Times-Picayune
June 17, 2015

Today David Borgerding, an artist working in New Orleans, installed "VOLPANG," his immense fabricated/forged silicon bronze sculpture that now stands on Poydras Street, between O'Keefe Avenue and Penn Street. "VOLPANG" was dropped by a crane and installed as part of the Poydras Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation. Other pieces in the collection include Lin Emery's "Octet" installed on Poydras between St. Charles Ave. and Camp St., James Surls' "Me, Knife, Diamond and Flower," which currently sits outside the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Surls' "Standing Vase with Five Flowers," and Enrique Alferez's "Gymnast," both of which are already displayed on Poydras.

Borgerding, an artist born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and now living in New Orleans, creates monumental, abstract bronzes and stainless steel sculptures that exist in public spaces and private collections throughout the south.


By Caitlin Faw

"Image Universe: Norah Lovell on The Battle of New Orleans Part 1," Pelican Bomb
April 27, 2015



Introducing a special three-part edition of "Image Universe" with local artist Norah Lovell. Lovell shares with us three paintings from her current exhibition at Callan Contemporary and the source materials that inspired them. The exhibition, “Reconnaissance: Battle of New Orleans,” features ten large-scale paintings conceived after meticulous research and collaging. The paintings bring to light the work of muralist, Ethel Magafan, while calling on a host of other images relating to war, the natural world, and the insular domestic spaces of aristocratic women.

Margaret Evangeline: On War, Museum Show at the LSU Museum of Art
March 13 - August 2, 2015


From March 13-August 2, 2015, the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, LA presents Margaret Evangeline: On War. This retrospective exhibition of Baton Rouge native Margaret Evangeline examines the nature of modern war and violence through the artist’s provocative paintings, mixed media and installation works. Evangeline’s art explores the causes and effects of modern combat, and reflects the capacity of art to represent and respond to war. Her art is often itself made using the tools of war, her paintings and installations produced through gunshots and punctured by bullet holes so that they embody the very violence she seeks to critique.


Margaret Evangeline: On War brings together for the first time Evangeline’s paintings and her evocative mixed media and installation work to tell the full story of her art. The exhibition will include recent paintings, such as the artist’s Lines of Communication, which considers the way in which our distance from sites of violence impact our thinking about conflict in places like Iraq. The exhibition will also include earlier works in stainless steel completed during Evangeline’s first forays into using guns as art-making tools. Alongside these paintings, the exhibition features works from Evangeline’s recent Sabachthani series, a set of sculptures created in collaboration with her son, an Air Force lieutenant colonel then stationed in Iraq, as well as other active duty soldiers serving alongside him.


Evangeline describes her signature bullet marked canvases and gunshot markings on stainless steel and as “painting without paint.” These personal and emotionally charged works meditate on the use of force in human affairs, evoking Simone Weil’s 1940 concept of a “poem of force.” Her art comments upon current conflicts and wars, but also engages with a much longer history of war and violence throughout the world. Sabachthani, for instance, utilizes iconic press images of historic events during the turbulent 1960s alongside more recent material from the Iraq War, and concludes with a list of all of the recorded wars fought by man, beginning with the first, The Conquest of Sumner, which took place in what is now Iraq, and ending with the most recent war in Afghanistan.


Evangeline’s art challenges a common perception among Americans that war is something that happens far away, to someone else. Her art is that of a mother whose family has been directly impacted by war, as well as that of an artist with an incisive ability to bring war home. At a time when world events demand that we turn our attention to public policy and foreign affairs, Margaret Evangeline poses an ambitious question: can we stop long enough to meditate on the more personal impact—and lasting effects—of war and violence?


Margaret Evangeline: On War is curated by Dr. Katie A. Pfohl, and organized by the LSU Museum of Art.

"Review: Shawne Major at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider
January 11th, 2015


When Hew Locke, a British artist from the culturally Caribbean nation of Guyana in South America, first came to New Orleans to install his carnival-inspired work in Prospect.3, he didn't expect to feel at home here. He had heard about our carnival but didn't think a North American Mardi Gras could rival the Caribbean-style festivities of his native land. But when he saw all the beads dangling from trees all over town, he changed his mind and realized that our Mardi Gras must be the real deal after all. That same giddy, anarchic energy that we associate with random clusters of carnival beads also defines Shawne Major's densely abstract tapestries cobbled from beads, buttons, baubles and trinkets stitched together into very precise yet random looking wall hangings. They resonate a certain vibratory contrast because even though abstraction has historically been associated with some of the most serious art and artists--and Major comes across as quite serious herself--her mixed media wall hangings are crafted from some of the most ephemeral objects in popular culture. So even though the New Iberia native's works are not explicitly about carnival, the parallels are so pronounced that they provide a sense of what abstract art might have looked like had it originated in south Louisiana.


Fascia, top, is especially carnivalesque because of the way its dense strands of beads seem to almost spin like a vortex of baubles, faux turquoise and plastic flowers in motion. Twin Flame is darker and denser and evokes a slower sort of movement as patterns of beads, buttons and purple faux pearls seem to almost ooze like an elegantly bejeweled lava flow. But Bower, left, suggests a vestment, perhaps the remains of a royal tunic from a lost civilization that communicated via coded sequences of beads. Others are shaped like animal pelts, but all of these fantastical concoctions exude a psychotropic joie de vivre, the inexplicable electricity of small, shimmering objects that were once in motion, and only recently came to rest. 


By D. Eric Bookhardt

"Review: Raine Bedsole at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider
October 5th, 2014

"To disappear into deep water or to disappear toward a far horizon, to be part of the depth of infinity, such is the destiny of man that finds its image in the destiny of water." So said Gaston Bachelard, that most poetic of French philosophers. His words may be taken literally--as some Miami residents whose streets now flood at high tide found out--or figuratively, as his book title, Water and Dreams, implies. Longtime Nola resident and coastal Alabama native Raine Bedsole is no stranger to flooding, but her water-inspired sculptures suggest vessels that connect the seas of primordial memory with the tides of the imagination. Life began in ancient seas and our bodies are mostly water, but civilization was our response to the elements, and therein lies a paradox, a puzzle for engineers and poets.


Engineers would not approve of the vessel Aeolus, top, a skeletal canoe that seems to hover in space as crystalline drops fall from its spindly ribs like vastly oversize tears. What it means will vary with the viewer but, like a ghost boat in magic realist fiction, it seems to ply etheric currents in a sea of dreams. Others look equally gossamer whether made from steel rods shaped like reeds or clad in paper as sheer as the lanterns Brazilians set float for All Saints Day. Imagined Islands suggests a spindly seed pod, but pages from antique books appear embedded in its silk fabric skin. The creations of man and nature are similarly interwoven in her works on paper, whimsical drawings of trees, structures and coral reefs on collaged backings of vintage book covers. Even her Tower of Babel, in this context, recalls the spiraling interior of a nautilus shell. Bedsole's bronzes are more substantial, but their repetition of iconic forms reinforces the subtle elemental subtext that underlies this show-- namely the way all things created by man and nature are ultimately interwoven, connected by subtle but imperishable bonds that can be bent but never be broken.


By D. Eric Bookhardt

Norah Lovell (Dis)Comfort Zones: ArtPrize at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
September 24th - October 12th, 2014
Earth and Element: The Art of George Dunbar at The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Exhibition on view until August 30th, 2014




Earth and Element—these two important features have had a direct impact on the life of George Dunbar and the creative realm in which he exists. Earth, which he has manipulated throughout his career as a real estate developer and his life as an artist, is meticulously moved, gouged, built up and pushed away to create works in which both the abstract and the precise exist. The natural earthly environment, including the marshes of his beloved North Shore, have had a dramatic impact on his approach as well, whether seen through his Marshgrass Series, or Katrina—these environs help to shape a portion of the psyche seen in Dunbar’s work. Element, as seen in the metallic gold leaf that he has utilized in several series—including Coin du Lestin, Rouville, and Bonfouca—has also been at the forefront of his artistic life. Intricate and beautiful layers of metallic and gold leaf, meticulously applied to the clay, are oftentimes gouged and burnished to expose their raw and elemental forms. These dichotomies are examined in Earth and Element: The Art of George Dunbar.


Dunbar emerged in the late 1950s as one of the preeminent contemporary artists working in the Deep South. While traditionally trained as a painter, he initially focused in the realm of action painting as his context. His passion and desire to work as an artist allowed every aspect of his life to inform his work, moving both his life and his art through many turns and going down unseen paths. On meeting George for the first time, I was soon to discover why his career has pursued these many roads. Dunbar’s intellectual curiosity and pursuit of brilliance has not subsided. It is clear that this quest for knowledge and the lifelong hunt for virtuosity has been the driving force throughout his career and is to be celebrated in this important exhibition for which the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is most proud to present.


Lance S. Harris
Interim Director
Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum University of Louisiana at Lafayette

"Review: Qualia: Geometric Paintings by James Flynn," Gambit
June 23, 2014

By D. Eric Bookhardt on a new show at Callan Contemporary.


William Blake once opined that it is possible to "see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/ And Eternity in an hour ..." In his poem, "Auguries of Innocence," he harked to the sages of antiquity, who saw the repeating patterns of the natural world as a kind of sacred geometry that contained the secrets of the universe. But Blake's contemporaries often were more likely to see the natural world as fodder for smoke-belching factories. In more recent times, physicists have rediscovered that nature's geometric patterning actually does contain the secrets of the universe after all, and that ongoing counterpoint between technology and metaphysics is reflected in James Flynn's seamlessly pristine yet near-hallucinatory paintings.


Comprising intricate, symmetrically patterned lines rendered in richly hued pigments, they range from austerely minimal compositions to dazzling visual puzzles that trick the eye into seeing luminous depth where only flat surfaces exist. Consequently, they often resemble holograms that change in color and form when viewed from different angles.


Olam Atzilut (a Kabbalist term for emanation) is an arrangement of concentric circles that suggests a shimmering bull's-eye rendered in burnished brass but actually is just a painted panel. Concentric circles become even more illusionistic in Syzygy (a celestial navigation term for alignment), where their overlapping forms seem to shimmer like a virtual reality rendition of a soap bubble floating in space. Flynn's most visionary work, The Pareidolic Dream of the Lion, (pictured) makes extensive use of obsessively painted moire patterns deployed as a kind of Rorschach test that turns the viewer's gaze inward. The need to make sense of ambiguity causes the subjective nature of our imagination and preoccupations to influence how we interpret what we see (as the term "pareidolic" suggests). In this uniquely surprising exhibition, Flynn takes us to the far horizons of perception, returning us to that sublime metaphysical realm where art, science and magic are united and cohesive once again.

"Review: I Search in Snow," Gambit
April 14, 2014

D. Eric Bookhardt on new sculpture by Sibylle Peretti at Callan Contemporary.


The mysterious figurative glass sculptures in Sibylle Peretti's I Search in Snow expo at Callan Contemporary feature young children who seem far removed from the playfully animated kids we normally encounter. As otherworldly as creatures in myths and fairy tales, Peretti's children exist in dreamlike settings they share with sinuous plants and small animals. Deftly rendered in a pale, soft palette of translucent white and magenta kiln-formed glass, they evoke the fantastical inner life we experienced when we were very young, or perhaps the echoes of that magically boundless time that may reappear in our dreams. For Peretti, childhood and dreams are part of nature, and her work has long been inspired by the legends of "feral children" who lived outside human society, a phenomenon that melds modern notions of alienation and the traditional nature mysticism of Peretti's native Germany. Whatever the reason, her kids have the trancelike quality associated with hermits who communicate with wild animals, as we see in To Know a Hawk, where a near-catatonic boy exchanges meaningful gazes with a hawk while other birds seem to cluster on his chest and shoulders.

In Snowchild (pictured), a young girl sleeps as hawks gather around her, and here the child is inseparable from the wild world. Both works are crafted from white kiln-forged glass that looks almost like Carrera marble, giving them a classical aura that contrasts with their psychological vibe. In the wall pieces, children often appear connected to each other by sinuous magenta vines or silver branches, visual effects that reach their most elaborate fruition in her magical bell jar series. In White Hawk 3, two hawks appear under a grapelike cluster of icy clear glass, and only from certain angles can a child's face be seen in the dome's mirrored rear surfaces. In these and other works, Peretti's children suggest near-mythical creatures whose profound silences enable connections with wild nature and its equivalents in the deep recesses of the poetic imagination.

Margaret Evangeline: Sabachthani Museum Show at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
January 17 through March 30, 2014

New York–based, Louisiana-born artist Margaret Evangeline (b. 1943) is known for her experimentation with aesthetically resistant material and an expanded painting practice that uses gunshots to transform polished stainless steel panels. The resultant marks—appearing simultaneously as scars and embellishments—break the continuity of these pristine minimalist forms. The fourteen powder-coated aluminum bars assembled in Evangeline’s series of wall sculptures Sabachthani were shot through with 5.56mm M4 rifles and 9mm Beretta M9 pistols at Joint Base Balad in Iraq. These were not the randomly fired shots found in war-torn pockets of the globe; instead, they were staged by the artist. A tremendous beauty lies within these painted slabs that have been eviscerated by an irrevocably violent human action. The beauty isn't in the rupture but in the testimony these singular objects, now shot through, give to all of us who have experienced the shock of the impossibly fast transitions in our lives.


Evangeline’s recently completed permanent installation Glass Like a Memory, Steel Like a Valentine is located in Michigan State University’s Armstrong Hall.

Curated by Michael Rush, Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU