Exhibition spotlights art in many forms

‘Cloud #3’ by Vita Eruhimovitz

By Sarah Weinman

Art Saint Louis’ “XXXII: The Exhibition” is a smorgasbord for art-lovers. The gallery’s 32nd annual all-media exhibition includes drawings, paintings, small sculptures, photographs, textiles and more. Subjects range from portraits and still-lifes to street scenes and non-representational forms. I had trouble selecting just three works on which to focus.

The dazzle of Vita Eruhimovitz’ piece, titled “Cloud #3,” caught my eye immediately, and the artist’s message made me look more closely. Her work reminds me of the effects human society has on the environment. Approximately 24 inches long, this piece is comprised of about 15 layers of pink, clear blue, and opaque white Plexiglas clouds, tiered like stormclouds seen from a distance. The bottom half of each cloud is dipped in white paint which drip-dried. A blue LED light installed behind the sculpture illuminates the clouds. They have realistic shapes and even seem to drip rain, but their colors (pink and blue) are unnatural.

Eruhimovitz says, “My art provokes an inquiring glance at a human-made future in which self-conscious machines are members of our society and artificial environments merge with nature.”

The natural and the artificial are also found in Robert Bolla’s work “At the Falls,” a digital photograph modified to model a wet plate photograph. Bolla captured Iguazú Falls, between Argentina and Brazil, from the vantage point where the waterfalls span the length of the image. Dense forest rises up beyond the falls and to the left in the foreground, where the Iguazú River curves around a bend. Figures on the beach at the lower left are so small that they’re mere specks.


Bolla took the photograph with a digital camera, then manipulated the image on the computer. The end result resembles “a wet plate photograph developed with a blue/peach coloration to give the image an antique quality,” he explained. It looks like a vintage photograph, with bluish shadows and peach-tinted highlights. Bolla photographed the 20,000-year-old waterfalls using twenty-first-century technology. With the help of that technology, the image imitates the appearance of a wet plate print process which was invented in the nineteenth century.

Joy Martin leaves nature to its own devices in “Green Morning,” a small oil on canvas. Patches of beige and shades of green ranging from yellow-green to dark green, resemble a camouflage pattern. Dark outlines create round and leaf-shaped forms.

A reproduction of a Bellini Madonna “with a brilliant green backdrop,” led Martin to think about “the sumptuousness and tastiness of green” and gave her the idea for this piece. She brought into the foreground the flora that is relegated to the background in many works of art.

“XXXII: The Exhibition” is on view at Art Saint Louis through Dec. 22.  Art Saint Louis is located downtown at 1223 Pine Street. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and closed on Sundays. Catalyst Coffee Bar is located in the gallery space and has the same hours as the gallery. For more information, call 314-241-4810 or visit http://www.artstlouis.org/