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Bruno David: Moving Ahead In Time

Bruno David opens first exhibition in new gallery

Patrons fill Bruno David's new gallery in Clayton during the recent opening. photos by Dickson Beall (click for larger version)

November 16, 2016
Following loss of his lease and the need to vacate his Grand Center location, Bruno David has just opened his new Clayton gallery at 7513 Forsyth, creating a win for Clayton, as well as the entire art community.

David opened his first gallery in New York in 1983; this is his 11th season in St. Louis. History and movement in time must have been very much on his mind in assembling this opening exhibition at his new location. Clearly, he sees the artist as creator, in each of these six exhibitions — these six worlds.

Work in Chris Kahler's new series, "Metaphemeral," is located in the gallery's main exhibition space. photo by Dickson Beall (click for larger version)
Chris Kahler's explosion of light and his big bang of color symbolically open the door into the gallery's main exhibition space. Kahler's newly created series, "Metaphemeral," documents an art process in time. Recording line and multi-perspectival space evocative of architecture, it builds upon microscopic biomedical forms that explode into cosmic universes and allow history to become transparent, to fade, or to remain a distant memory that is encrusted like archaeological texture.

In the adjoining gallery is Ann Wimsatt, an architect who travels to distant cities creating plein-air paintings in ink and watercolor. She then brings these works into her studio, to digitally altar them and add resonance. Her altered cityscapes of iconic public plazas and skylines are printed in small editions. This series, "Not a Passive Journey," includes views of Saarinen's St. Louis Arch and New York's Central Park — as well as images of Mumbai, Istanbul and other cities.

"Deconstructed Chair" by MIchael Jantzen. photo by Dickson Beall (click for larger version)
The show-stopper for me is Van McElwee's video, "Travel Dreams," as it seems a lynchpin for understanding the mind-set of gallery director David. McElwee is an alchemist, transforming footage — from ancient architectural monuments, nature and contemporary structures — into imaginative movements that bring the viewer to recognize the temporal nature of all we consider sacred. In a dream-like sequence with etherial musical accompaniment, figures move slowly around both familiar and mysterious spaces. McElwee masterfully brings universal themes — life and death, sublimity and cruelty, beauty and tragedy — to new depths in relation with all that is.

Michael Jantzen exhibits photographic images of chairs, cut apart and reassembled into a series of smart, cubist-like photo montages printed on painted aluminum. "Deconstructing my Chairs" documents a playful taking apart in time, to create new configurations of both high-end and very basic chairs. Sophisticated and attractive, with wide appeal, the series is strangely evocative of the gallery's recent disruption and change of location.

Bruno David checks out Kahlil Irving's exhibit of all-black ceramics, "Undocumented." (click for larger version)
History continues to unfold in another gallery wing, with Kahlil Irving's "Undocumented." Running the length of the gallery is an installation of various-shaped all-black ceramics, mounted on tall wooden scaffolding. Standing close together, the pots/vases/containers convey obvious strength and power that challenge the color barriers, words and actions intended to separate individuals and communities.

"Swing" by Sarah Harford is in the gallery's showcase window on Forsyth. This sculptural installation of reconstituted car parts, plastic headlights and taillights is a renaissance of that which has been discarded and moved to a new future, for an adventurous new beginning, not to be undone by disruption. After all, upheavals and change are the very essence of recorded history and progress, here documented in art — and in the gallery space itself.

The six solo exhibitions will be on display through Dec. 23 at the gallery. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and by appointment. For more information, visit brunodavidgallery.com.

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