Louis Saint Lewis
IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE,
YOU'RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Louis St. Lewis is a compelling artist from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
who has gained considerable exposure and recognition for a wide
range of creative endeavors, including painting, sculpture and collage.
He is also known for reliefs and assemblage works which rely on
actual dimensional objects for their symbolic support. St. Lewis
is one of a number of artists working today with a fascination for
the past. His work generally plays off classic Greek and Roman themes,
or early 19th century images which he subverts and updates to address
a range of contemporary issues. His style is an eclectic mix of
expressionism and pop, figuration and abstraction, narrative and
decoration.- combining fragments of diverse source material-which
when removed from their original context and placed within his work,
take on new, often symbolic meaning.
St. Lewis recognizes that to understand the present, you must know the past.
His works are a pointed reminder that myths are the stories of our quest through
the ages for meaning and truth; and that mythology can provide clues to the problems
and issues we face as a society today. For St. Lewis, mythology is the guidepost
in his own search for answers; and while each work makes clear reference to the
source from which they are drawn, the stories are rescripted to satisfy his own
fantasies and interests.
Tom W. Jones
Director of the Museum of the Southwest
I quickly realized that St. Lewis is one of those individuals whose are doesn’t
stop at the edge of the canvas, so to speak. Instead, it infuses all aspects
of his life, from the way he talks to the way he dresses to the way he decorates
his environment where he lives and works. On one level, he’s a performance
artist for whom the performance never ends, and his individual paintings, collages
and assemblages are props and pieces of the constantly evolving stage set that
his studio and the world-at-large comprise for him.
“ Whether drawing from Judeo-Christian or pagan sources, St. Lewis concocts
a witches brew. Indeed, the cast of characters in this symbol laden jambalaya
is as diverse as a politically correct committee. And his fecund garden is as
redolent with signs as a Bangkok streetscape…. There is something vaguely
promiscuous about this polyglot assortment of pagan and priest, modern history
and ancient mythology. Isn’t something lost when everything has the same
level of importance? On television, commercials for cars and detergent are transmitted
at the same decibel level of detail as news about suicide bombings. In this display,
the face of Marilyn Monroe is placed alongside a reference to Nagasaki. His world
of Icons is a democratic world. All is fetish.
While St. Lewis’ materials and sources are familiar – found objects,
xerography, assemblage, mythology- his work is unique because of the witty and
macabre, yet beautiful ways in which these elements are combined.
St. Lewis conveys an uncanny mix of glamour, sex and antiquity appropriate to
someone ( St. Lewis) who once said he wanted to be an artist because of the freedom
it bestowed. “A freedom known only to rock stars and Baptist preachers” he
opined. Beautiful and beautifully crafted, his assemblage and collage creations
are a stunning reminder of what true talent can do when left to its own devices.”
GAMBIT WEEKLY, New Orleans
In the world of art today, originality is an endangered species. Most artists
simply copy prevailing styles and the result is a feeling of deja vu in the majority
of galleries you visit . That is not the case with the art of Louis St. Lewis
who is currently showing at Jernigan-Wicker Fine Art. While definitely one of
Warhol’s feral offspring, St.Lewis possesses a true originality that slaps
you directly across the face with it’s freshness, brashness and honesty.
Not one to play it safe, the artist goes way out on a limb, and lures you out
to those fragile branches with his enchanting creations and biting wit.
THE SAN FRANCISO CHRONICLE
The scope of St.Lewis’ investigation and experimentation is exceptional.
Like Picasso and Matisse before him, Louis works fast and free, relishing the
unfinished edge, the glue that shows, the evidence of a rough hand. Every artwork
he creates is a new experience, and the depth and breadth of his creativity flies
in the face of the banal production line productivity of many of his contemporaries.”
Mark Sloan, Director, Halsey Gallery, The College of Charleston
The artworks of Louis St.Lewis are found in many notable collections including
the Ogden Museum of Southern Art- A Smithsonian affiliate and the largest museum
in the world dedicated to the promotion of Southern artists, The New Orleans
Museum of Art, The Morris Museum of Fine Art, and The Masur Museum of Art. St.
Lewis is in several private collections with roots in North Carolina including
NC Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler, Allen G. Thomas Jr. Tom Kenan III, Francine & Benson
Pilloff, Mr.& Mrs. James Duke Semans Jr., Sean Yseult, and Vogue editor Andre
Leon Talley. Other collectors include HRH The Prince of Kuwait, Christian LaCroix,
Danielle Steele, Oprah Winfrey, and Tatum O’Neal.