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Review: Let them eat cupcakes at Duane Reed

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2013 - The Misty Gamble exhibit, Abject Reverie, up now at the Duane Reed Gallery, is a treat for the eyes. The storefront installation whets the appetite with individual ceramic cupcakes, titled Succulence, hanging above and around a fete of ceramic strangeness, titled Indulgence.

And indulgent this work is. Gamble toys with her ceramic goodies, using the cupcakes and their bakery boxes to construct the splayed out bottom half of the female sculpted figure, a figure that is, in its extravagant design and scale, a confectionary wonder.

Adding to the delight, spots of shadow dance on the white gallery wall behind these many hanging inedible delectables. The exhibit is adeptly arranged to tempt and then further tempt the gallery visitor as an evolutionary process seems to occur, formed by a series of toothsome ceramic busts adorned with candy coils of hair piled high with baked goods. Ribbons of hair merge into decorative foodstuff until the figural busts are abstracted by design.

Gamble lines her sculpture display columns with French decorative wall papers that give her artworks the look of a tissue-wrapped gift from Paris’s Palais Royal.

Cupcakes are more ganache lumps than hair ornament in Delectable. Luminosity flips this as the torso of and head of this figure look like ribbon candy, rather than the display pedestal and the separation between frosting and face are lost.

A wall lined with ceramic panties, these are not underwear, is on display at the far end of the main gallery. Seemingly shrugged off lingerie are hung in a pretty pattern of pastel. From the candied women to their rhinestone-studded underthings, the delicious looking artwork is ripe for discussions of light and heavy gender issues.

The basics

Where: 4729 McPherson Ave., 63108

When: closing March 9

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10-5 p.m. and by appointment

Cost: Free

Sarah Hermes Griesbach is a freelance writer.