In a recent interview, Prospect New Orleans founder Dan Cameron opined that New Orleans doesn’t do enough “to support its local visual artists, yet ... the St. Claude district now constitutes the critical mass of artist-run spaces for the entire country.” While his opinions are open to debate, his comment about St. Claude being a national epicenter for artist-run co-op galleries is hard to dispute; no other city has so many in such concentration.
The newest gallery is Staple Goods, a former corner grocery on St. Roch Avenue at Villere Street. Its current show features work by its member artists, and it’s surprisingly cohesive despite the diversity. Cynthia Scott’s Chandeleur (pictured) series of sculptures transform everyday manufactured items into airy, chandelier-like mobiles with a Zen-like delicacy that belies their prosaic origins while complementing Daniel Kelly’s grid drawings, in which loosely rendered lines and marks suggest a ghostly sort of architectural space, as if modernism had evolved directly from stone age cave paintings. A notable exception to the prevailing abstraction is Thomasine Bartlett’s Hot Mamas photo series of women in archaic Storyville attire lounging languidly in steamy summer torpor in a visual meditation on “the brutality of fashion and style” in a tropical environment.
Gambit Weekly, "Inside Art" by D. Eric Bookhardt