Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jeremy Rabus adds a dash of flesh to his pallette

Jeremy Rabus has a one-man show, Twilight Canopy, up at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary, which I still think of as the new, smaller Hoffman LaChance.

Rabus has offered an effective solution to a one-man show in a small room by producing a large number (27) of small and very small paintings. This gives the visitor a lot to look at without crowding the walls or making you feel like you're in a dorm room with a picture pinned everywhere.

Compared to the other work of his I've seen, he also gives us a lot to look at in the form of figures. Jeremy's work usually strikes me as a phenomenon of gushing color where I don't even begin to wonder about what might be going on under the abstraction, in a representational sense. This work is a little different.

I see more things. Judging by the frequently representational titles of the pieces, it seems that Jeremy sees more things too, though we almost never see the same things. Where he sees, or at least says, "Teal Beam," I see a dolphin tail; where he sees "Strapped Cloud," I see a bird beak; his "Turbine" is my whale; his "Ice on Embedded Platform" (above) is my high-heeled shoe.

We also have two hits, or only near misses: his "The Bikeway" is my highway, and his "Striped Bug" is "Easter eggs" on my scorecard.

Moving toward a more substantial point, where Jeremy thinks he has painted a "Birdbelly," I am seeing sexy bikini thighs, and in a piece he titles "Avoid the Void" I'd swear I'm seeing a fragment of a female nude belly-down, with the creamy rise of her buttocks.

Up until now, I'd say his work has been asexual, though deeply in touch with the forces of nature we associate with the feminine: waterfalls, mountains, rainclouds. I think he is finding more flesh on his pallette. That's not a bad thing.

I also appreciate his respect for the local art buying public's poverty. These pieces are priced $50 to a low ceiling of $375. He already had sold 15 of the 27 paintings when I walked through yesterday evening, and the more people who see the show, the more he'll sell. It's good, fresh work by an artist who is growing, priced to move.

Twilight Canopy is up at Hoffman LaChance, 2713 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood, through May 26. Curator Michael Hoffman may be reached at 314-398-9636 or

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