Currently on display at VanBrunt Gallery in Beacon, New York, is the exhibition Women of New Orleans. One would expect, from an exhibition with this title, some references to Hurricane Katrina. Yet here, the thoughtfulness, talent, and intelligence are the first things you notice. The star of the show is Dawn DeDeaux. A pragmatic thinker and elegant doer, DeDeaux turns glass, mold, and mud into focused visions that stick to your thoughts like barbed seed pods.
"Hurricane Suite in Nine Movements" (2006) (image left), which is comprised of nine back-lit floor boxes with swirls of shattered glass, really hit the mark. My first thoughts were of shiny galaxies, then moving to hurricanes, making me see the continuity of our universe. "Hurricane Suite" is a most beautiful work - very magnetic.
Another beautiful work, the hand-carved relief print "Pattern Shadows," is by Teresa Cole. She is at her best when she keeps it vague; "Pattern Shadows" reveals a wonderful riff on floral design, shadow and light.
Nicole Charbonnet goes after the classic American icons -- Batman, cowboys, boxers -- with finesse and flair while she pushes the dynamics of composition to the fore.
Shawn Hall's biomorphic transparencies offers watercolor as a very contemporary medium, while Gina Philips brings in crafty needlework that references the music culture of the area.
Women of New Orleans, an exhibition organized by Lyn Fischbach, is a real eye-opener. And even though there was such a wide range of styles and media, the exhibition holds together because all of the artists offer such well made, and highly tactile surfaces.
Across the street from VanBrunt is Go North, a gallery which features the edgy photography of Peter Crotty. The works in his exhibition Change the Conversation bring to mind the photographer's option to be the voyeur. It is also wise for Crotty to keep it all black and white and smallish, giving the whole show a very strange and uncomfortable intimacy. - D. Dominick Lombardi
Mr. Lombardi is an artist with representation in Chicago, New York, and ADA gallery in Richmond, VA; a writer with Sculpture, Sculpture Review, DART, and NYARTS; and an independent curator.