Tuesday, March 17, 2009

N&O Review of Louis St.Lewis

Critic's Pick
Michelle Natale on the best art

Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh  rings in the new year with a solo show of  works by pop-baroque artist Louis St.Lewis, an eponymous exhibition subtitled, "Bad boy of the Southern Art Scene".  After recent sold out shows in Mougin, France, San Francisco and New Orleans and a hiatus of several years from showing locally, our very own enfant terrible promises a mini-retrospective that includes the cross dressed  "Persephone" which set off a media frenzy at 19993's Artsplosure and 2002's Jessica Lynch portrayed as the center of a sunflower.

The featured attraction is St.Lewis's collaboration with Sean Yseult ( aka Raleigh native Shauna Reynolds) bassist of the group White Zombie, " 12 Inches of fame."  Collage portraits based on the rock 'n' roll scene, created with Yseults photographs and St.Lewis' great eye for graphic design, combined in a a tondo format- vinyl records ( remember those?) reprising their summer showing at New York's famous CBGB nightclub.

Expect St.Lewis' classic plexiglass portraits, which layer faces with gold leaf, drawn marks and collage elements wittily referencing art history.  A series of three-dimensional assemblages, part Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois " personages" and Marisol, with a healthy dose of African nkisi references ( spiked nail heads haloing the images) and voodoo symbols thrown in, will fill another room.

St. Lewis' most recent works are striking computer-generated images printed on canvas, altering 19th century portraits with the addition of wreaths of roses, heart shaped locks and subtly surreal motifs.