Contemporary's Spring Exhibitions Feature Quilts, Folk Art, Tornadoes, Portraits and the Red Sea; Contemporary Art Museum Offers a Variety of Styles, Points of View; VISUAL ARTS

By Miller, Sarah Bryan | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

Contemporary's Spring Exhibitions Feature Quilts, Folk Art, Tornadoes, Portraits and the Red Sea; Contemporary Art Museum Offers a Variety of Styles, Points of View; VISUAL ARTS


Miller, Sarah Bryan, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Five different artists, with different styles and points of view, are featured in the spring exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

There's a survey of the work of Joe Goode, an Oklahoman who went to LA and whose work reflects the landscape in which he grew up. There's a collection of quilts based on the visual coding of the Underground Railroad. Idiosyncratic signs that qualify as folk art contrast with a series of mixed-media portraits, and a 52-foot-long painting created on-site posits the parting of the Red Sea.

Three of the exhibitions were put together by CAM's chief curator, Jeffrey Uslip: the surveys of Joe Goode and self-taught artist Jesse Howard, as well as Barnaby Furnas' site-specific painting.

Goode, said Uslip, "came to the fore in the early '60s, and he came to the fore in California. He's really been known as this California icon of pop art." In the exhibition, however, Uslip makes a case that "all of his work is influenced by, and is to be read through, his growing up in Oklahoma."

Goode's paintings portray big skies and tornado shotguns. "If we read this work in the milieu in which it was made, we have a much more deep and nuanced picture of what he's trying to do," he said. "This exhibition brings that work back to its point of origin, to really hit the reset button on understanding Joe's work."

Jesse Howard (18851983), a self-taught artist, lived and worked in Fulton, Mo., from 1944 until his death. His oeuvre was signs, handpainted on pieces of wood, quoting scripture or expounding his philosophy and opinions, along with his complaints about his neighbors. …

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