Friday, April 10, 2009

BOOM Magazine feature: Louis St.Lewis

BOOM Magazine
Furniture, and Photographs and Paintings, Oh My..

Louis St.Lewis, North Carolina native, long-time Chapel Hill resident, art critic for Metro Magazine and notable artist in his own right ( Ben Williams, former director of the North Carolina Museum of Art has called Louis " One of the State's true geniuses") will have three simultaneous solo exhibitions in March and April.  This flurry of activity showcases St.Lewis' recent works that were produced after and " inspiring" trip to Barcelona, Spain last fall.  He credits this productivity to " walking the same paths, and seeing the same vista's as  Picasso, Miro and Dali."

Neither camera nor media-shy, St.Lewis has been creating controversy and garnering enthusiastic supporters for twenty years. " It's like Hieronymous Bosch meets MTV!" , quipped Andy Warhol in response to St.Lewis' early work.  St. Lewis has however, moved away from the type of art that would garner remarks such as this, no longer using human blood or human bones in his creations.

St.Lewis' current trademark is to incorporate imagery from other artist's work into his own compositions of mixed media.  In the painting, The Young Harlequin, the childs face has been "borrowed" from an oil portrait most likely painted during the 18th-19th centuries.  The nod to Picasso is also apparent.

What I particularly like about St.Lewis' work is that each painting or collage has a distinct personality ( or personalities)- there is an emotional component to viewing his pieces,  Whether it is wit, sarcasm, playfulness or glibness, the observer is actively involved.

The trio of current exhibitions begins at Tyndall Galleries.  The show, entitled The Palimpsest Project features large-scale canvases and will run through April.  On March 15, If you are looking for trouble you came to the right place  opens at the Craven Allen Gallery and features new large scale pop art prints and collages.  Through April, Louis St.Lewis: Experimental Studies will be on display at Crooks Corner.  I'm not certain what that means, but I hear the show has already sold out.