Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Recent exhibitions at Bruno David Gallery

by Emily Botkin

During month of February, the Bruno David Gallery hosted three wonderful and diverse exhibitions featuring the works of three different artists. Bunny Burson’s “In Plain Sight” was presented in the Front Room, while in the Main Gallery was Chris Kahler’s “Dialumens”. And In the back area of the gallery, also known as the New Media Room, was Lisa K. Blatt’s “Spinning on Enola Gay Runway Until I Make Myself Sick.”

Bunny Burson. In Plain Sight. 2014. Ink on Aluminum and Brass (77 elements). 14 1/2"x 10"x9". (Edition of 3). Photograph courtesy of Bruno David Gallery.
When I first went to observe Bunny Burson’s “In Plain Sight,” the first work that stood out was the sculpture In Plain Sight. This piece consists of ink on aluminum and brass, and appears to be one hundred or more replicated envelopes. The exhibit itself is supposed to illustrate Burson’s discovery of more than 100 letters from her Grandparents written to her mother. These letters depict her Grandparents lives in Europe during World War II. “Burson explores the idea that you can miss what you never knew,” as stated on the Gallery website. The 2-d works that took over the walls were not “sealed envelopes” like In Plain Sight, but instead each of the wall pieces consisted of thick and overlapping calligraphy. Letters Last was a series of three different pieces, each of them mixed media on Japanese paper and mylar. Letters Last showed illegible yet beautifully written cursive, and I believe these were written in German. I study and speak the language, so a few words stuck-out and seemed familiar to me, but as much as I tried, I could not comprehend what these words read in these letters—they were illegible. Untitled 50 was another wall piece that consisted of ink on vellum. Although Untitled 50 was different in shape and size, it too consisted of illegible yet beautifully written words. A part of me would like to assume that these letters that Burson discovered are meant to be kept private, but she pulls us in by trying to make us comprehend the words or wish we could open the letters piled on top of each other with her sculpture, In Plain Sight. The works included in this exhibit were all completed in 2013. Bunny Burson currently lives and works in St. Louis. She received her MFA from Washington University.

Bunny Burson. In Plain Sight. 2014. Ink on Aluminum and Brass (77 elements). 14 1/2"x 10"x9". (Edition of 3). Photograph courtesy of Bruno David Gallery.

 The Main Gallery hosted the works of Chris Kahler in “Dialumens.” This exhibit consisted of eighteen works, all of which were acrylic on panel. Although these works were similar in medium, no two were the same in appearance. These pieces, which lined the walls of the Main Gallery, explored vastly different choices of color and texture. Kahler created purely-abstracted works of art that conflict with the (sometimes barely visible) white background of each artwork. I, myself, am highly curious about Kahler’s process when making the Dialumens series. As stated earlier, no two pieces were the same; and I can’t imagine how he could create such visible texture with acrylic paint. One example of texture used throughout the exhibit included a thin bubbling effect that I noticed on a few of the works. My personal two favorites of this exhibit were Dialumens 9A and Dialumens 12A, both of which showed a grid-like structure behind the focal points of their composition. However, they were not the only two with grids painted into the background. These works were appealing to me because they were both abstracted yet structured—organic and inorganic line-work—and still somehow worked together. Each of Chris Kahler’s works were appealing atheistically because of the colors and how they worked with each other successfully for each composition.  Chris Kahler is Professor of Painting & Drawing at Eastern Illinois University. He received his MFA from Northwestern University.

Chirs Kahler. Dialumens 9A.2014. Acrylic on Panel, 30"x30". Photograph courtesy of Bruno David Gallery.

The New Media featured the work of Lisa K. Blatt titled “Spinning on Enola Gay Runway Until I Make Myself Sick.” This looped-video showed Blatt’s perspective of spinning in a constant circle while observing the land surrounding the Enola Gay Runway. For anyone that might not know, the Enola Gay was a bomber aircraft from World War II that dropped “Little Boy” on the Japanese town of Hiroshima. Even though Blatt is constantly moving throughout most of the video—the desert, the hangar, and barracks, are all visible throughout. It was difficult for me to watch this video because of motion-sickness, yet I still found the concept of this video very interesting.


Emily Botkin is currently serving as the Winter 2014 Intern at Art Saint Louis. She is a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville working towards a BA in Art History with Minors in Studio Art and German.

The Bruno David Gallery is located in Grand Center at 3721 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108. 314/531-3030. The Gallery is free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Although the exhibitions featured in this review closed March 1, a new series of exhibits open on Friday, March 7 with a free reception from 5-9 p.m. during Grand Center’s First Friday event. The new exhibits opening on March 7 include “Telescopic,” Shane Simmons, paintings; Front Room: “Formations,” Shawn Burkard, drawings; and New Media Room: “Rivington,” Heather Bennett. These exhibitions remain on view through March 29.