5/7/10 3:52 PM
Faces are supposed to be a window to the soul, or at least that’s how the cliché goes. But the visage, especially as represented by an artist, can be less a view onto the sitter’s soul than the artist’s. Such is the case with the long-running series of glass collages created by Louis St. Lewis, in which faces stare lustily out from behind their smoky enclosures, layered with glitter and paint, pretty patterned paper and found images. Who are these beautiful people? Impossible to say, even though their origin is photographic. Made up with Warholian lipstick and eyeshadow, male and female alike, their aspect is wanton and provocatively bisexual. Backed by maps of Paris, Lillet ads, a Van Gogh self-portrait, Japanese and Arabic script, their tone is trendy but dated. It’s almost as if St. Lewis, who describes his art practice as “drinking champagne and moving with the creative flow,” has made himself a set of fantasy friends to go on partying with circa the late eighties. And why not? Seems like a swell, swish place to lose oneself, unapologetically and with glee. Except wasn’t that the era that ended in a Wall Street crash, cocaine busts and a whole lot of STDs?