Best Local Artist

Brandon Anschultz

St. Louis is fortunate to possess a thriving art scene, a variety of venues and a roster of artists both well-established and up-and-coming. Some of these artists are making big, splashy noises and poised on the brink of art stardom, and they're finally getting their due. This year the decidedly modest, unsplashy Brandon Anschultz deserves to be recognized too. Anschultzes have been exhibited all over town for a few years now, but the muted, cerebral quality of his work sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of group exhibits. He typically paints small shapes in restrained colors on highly varnished plywood boards, shifting flirtatiously between hoosier and high-modernist aesthetic. Last spring Anschultz had the luxury of mounting a solo, three-room painting and video installation, *Scape, in the Contemporary Project Gallery at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. *Scape was a meditation on the structure of memory and the art of city- and landscapes. Another, more ironic, commentary on the contemporary cityscape came in the form of faux wood siding Anschultz plastered onto a white Ford minivan: Country Squire, Anschultz's contribution to Lisa Bulawsky's too-short-lived Blind Spot public art initiative, made stinging reference to suburbia's hollow pastoral symbolism. In addition to producing his own work, Anschultz, a 2002 Washington University MFA, commits a great deal of his energy to organizing art shows around St. Louis; he curated the recent Matthew Wallis exhibition and organized a show by San Francisco sculptor John Eric Richardson in 2003 at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts. For all this, Anschultz is entitled to at least a sliver of the spotlight he's used to not getting.
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