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Bright spots

By Ivy Cooper, Special to the Beacon

Bright SpotPosted 10:53 a.m. Tues. Aug. 4 - "Home From Work to Find Your Spaniel Turned Into a Wolf" is another strong, subtle, humorous show staged by the good people at Good Citizen Gallery. Alison Ouellette-Kirby, who currently teaches at St. Charles Community College, evidently grew up (like a lot of us) with a bit of a Monopoly fetish. She's parlayed it into sculptural observations on the meaning of "home," employing variations on those little green, instantly recognizable houses used in the board game.

In "Longest Way Round, Shortest Way Home," three enormous cast iron houses set on tracks can be made to collide with formidable force, while "Home Not Home" employs iron houses cast in real (i.e. tiny) scale. "Starter Home" plays on that absurd "Luxury Tax" diamond ring from the Monopoly board. And in a corner of the gallery, an oversized green house facade features a vicious-looking dog barking in the doorway. Ouellette-Kirby employs formal restraint packed with conceptual wit and dry-eyed nostalgia. This is a marvelous selection of new works by an artist worth keeping an eye on.

When: Through Aug. 29 | Where: Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Ave. | Information: 314-348-4587,


Featured Review: Home from Work to Find Your Spaniel Turned Into a Wolf

By Jessica Baran
published: August 12, 2009

Home From Home Featured Review photoFeatured Review: Home from Work to Find Your Spaniel Turned Into a Wolf
St. Louis-area artist Alison Ouellette-Kirby presents seven variations on the theme of the small green house from the game Monopoly. Home, chance, the ideal dream and desperate horror of domesticity — all of these ideas come into play as the perfectly simple form of the game piece variously manifests itself out of collected dog and cat hair, the sterling silver of a ring crowned by an enormous piece of cubic zirconia and doghouse-size sheets of Plexiglas on which a projection of a ferocious-looking spaniel mutely barks. In Longest Way Round, Shortest Way Home, three weighty cast-iron houses roll on a large seesaw-like track; they tend to collect heavily on one end unless the viewer uses the handle and exerts a little muscle to get them balanced in the center. All of the work is executed with such pristine craftsmanship that the ideas and sentiments behind it are communicated with inevitable clarity. Through August 29 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or Hours: noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.


Are you listening?

John Cross, For the Journal-Advocate

W e live in a world of constant communication, phone calls, email, text, 24 hour news, bill boards, television ads, street signs, warning labels, and all of us have dealt with the difficulties that arise when our systems of communication break down. Ever been in a one sided conversation where you can't get a word in edgewise? Ever been in a room when everybody is talking at the same time and no one is being heard? Ever wondered whether or not your tiny little voice can have any impact on the world? These topics and more are the subject of the current exhibition in the Peter L. Youngers Fine Arts Gallery. One of the truly amazing things about this show is the shear amount of time and effort it took to get it here. The artworks themselves each required about 200 man hours to complete. The sculptures are made of materials like, sheet metal, steel, formed plastic, cast iron, wood, and a host of electronic gadgets like microphones, receivers, MP3 players, and speakers, not to mention thousands of fasteners, wires and gallons of wood glue. It took seven people, students, ranchers, teachers and artists, two 12-hour days to install the work. More amazing still is the fact that the artists make this work with no financial gain in mind. For them monetary reward is the furthest from their minds, they delight in the opportunity to share their unique perspective with the community and truly enjoy traveling the country, meeting people and talking with them.

Tone Deaf, a multi media, large scale sculptural installation by up and coming sculpture team Alison Ouellette-Kirby and Noah Martin Kirby from St. Louis is on display now through Nov. 12. During an argument the couple had, over this or that, they suddenly realized that they were both arguing the exact same point but from two different directions. This argument inspired a discussion on their communication and ultimately inspired the four interactive sculptures in this show. As you walk through the gallery space you are confronted by large and repeating motifs, circles, cones, squares and rectangles, however these works do not affect your sight alone. Every artwork is trying to communicate with you not only visually but audibly as well. Some whisper, others talk, while others require your participation. There is no space within the gallery in which sound is not manifest. Individually, each artwork describes a different aspect of how we communicate, while the installation as a whole works together to define the larger concept of communication.

According to Pete Youngers, these sculptures are unlike anything we have ever exhibited here at NJC. The smallest work stands five feet tall while the tallest is eleven feet and the widest is sixteen. These artworks are huge, filling the space and they look spectacular lit up at night from outside the gallery. You really must visit the gallery to get a true feeling for the scale of the works.

I am extremely proud to be able to share this exhibit with Sterling through the generous support of the NJC Foundation, the tireless efforts of the artists, and the volunteers who helped install the work. It is extremely rare to have artwork of this unique quality and high caliber on our campus and I hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity to experience the exhibit.

The Peter L. Youngers Fine Art Gallery is located in ES French hall, next to the theatre. The gallery is open on Tuesday through Friday from 12pm-1pm and 2pm-3pm or by appointment through myself, John Cross, or Sandy Kester. The artists will be on campus to discuss their work on Friday, Nov. 12 from 4-5 p.m. during the closing reception.

John Cross is a professor of fine arts at Northeastern Junior College and curator of the on-campus galleries.




Exploring communication

St. Louis artists attend closing reception at NJC

By Callie Jones Journal-Advocate staff reporter
Journal Advocate

Posted:11/16/2010 11:39:18 AM MST

STERLING -- A small crowd gathered for a closing reception for the Tone Deaf art exhibit at Northeastern Junior College on Friday.

The exhibit has been on display at the college since Oct. 11.

St. Louis sculpture duo Alison Ouellette-Kirby and Noah Martin Kirby are responsible for the artwork.

Alison is a professor of art at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Mo. Noah is a senior lecturer and sculptor at the Sam Fox School of Art at Washington University. Both were at the closing reception on Friday.

The artwork displayed at NJC was a large-scale sculptural, multi-media exhibit that manifests itself through sound, space and time.

The exhibit consisted of two large pieces that are designed to make the gallery visitor think about communication on many levels.

The exhibit was funded in part by a generous donation from the NJC Foundation.

Before the reception, the two artists spent time giving lectures, which were open to the public, to a couple of art classes. During the closing reception, the artists spent time talking with students and others who were there and answering questions.

The NJC Faculty Exhibit will be the next exhibit in the Peter Youngers Art Gallery in E.S. French Hall. That exhibit opens Monday, Nov. 22.