In a prose poem inspired by the late found-object sculptor Joseph Cornell, poet Charles Simic wrote, "Somewhere in the city of New York there are four or five still-unknown objects that belong together. Once together they'll make a work of art." Cornell was a self-taught pioneer American surrealist as well as an erudite student of art history, so he was a natural bridge between self-taught outsider artists and the “official” art world of galleries, museums and academies. His ghost hangs over this “And Another Thing …” collage and assemblage expo by other artists at Barrister’s Gallery, but the net effect reflects New Orleans more than Cornell's New York or the surrealists' Paris, perhaps because so much of it recalls the altarlike arrays of objects that so often adorn mantels and end tables in local bohemian households.
Mary Gottschalk Moses' “Aftermath” assemblage of antique faucet handles, gas heater parts and lacy metal filigree suggests ancient Egyptian Masonic symbolism resuscitated from demolished house debris by a secret society of hermetic handymen. The holy cards, saint medallions, crystals and beads of Bonnie Bendzans' gothic reliquary, “Genuflect,” suggest the sacred artifacts of the Society of St. Anne marching krewe. Her “Crows Mourn their Dead” reliquary, with its stuffed raven perched on an antique balance scale, evokes a ghostly collaboration between Cornell and Edgar Allen Poe. John Barnes returns us to the present via the plantation past in his “NFL Locker Room” — a slave shack cum football locker room that is his sculptural commentary on the controversy over Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the playing of the national anthem. Mitchell Gaudet's “500 Points” (pictured) assemblage of cast-glass toy soldiers, target ducks and a heart-shaped sheet metal bull’s-eye is the sculptor and former National Guard officer's stark commentary on the nostalgia of violence. Collage paintings by David Eddington and the late James L. Steg explore the surreal depths of flat surfaces, while an “exquisite corpse” collaborative work in the gallery's dungeon grotto rounds out a show that often suggests installation art on the part of curator Carole Leake. The 13-artist expo comes across as a sprawling assemblage in its own right. Through April 6. Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave., (504) 710-4506; www.barristersgallery.com.