“All The Pretty Things”

Luisa Caldwell "Frieze" at b. conte boutique.

By Julie Turley

b. conte boutique (thru May 23)
167 North 9th St.
Bklyn, NY 11211
(718) 200-0690

I feel a bit sorry for the fabulous frocks at the b. conte boutique on North 9th Street.  Since the end of April, one’s eyes are immediately directed above the merchandise where the work of two local artists, Luisa Caldwell and Mery Lynn McCorkle is on exhibit until May 23rd.  In other words, go now to see art that transforms quotidian, decidedly low-brow materials into something transcendant.

Mery Lynn McCorkle "Diptych" employs glitter in her paintings.

One of the most tenacious and intelligent artists I know, Luisa Caldwell’s central medium is the ephemera of the produce department—fruit stickers.   She radically elevates the quotidian, re-contextualizing what is so familiar. We trash the fruit sticker without a second’s thought, peeling and discarding.   But Luisa makes us look at them, really look at them–as if for the first time, and in the process, gives the humble fruit sticker exuberant, sumptuous and permanent life.

At b. conte, Luisa’s fruit sticker “mosaics” and exploding florals are displayed on rescued materials, and lined up like an architectural frieze above a rack of summer dresses that I could not help rifling through.

To be honest, it was hard to know where to look, especially with Mery Lynn’s sculpturally abstract glitter paintings hanging luminous on a parallel wall.

Works by Mery Lynn McCorkle.

Which in fact, when investigated is discovered that they are rather straight forward depictions of cross sections of cell structures. Mery Lynn’s work underscored how the art currently hanging at b. conte isn’t just conceptually interesting in its approach, it’s also just downright pretty, a pleasure to look at.

Camouflage by Luisa Caldwell