In the wake of this year’s governmentally mandated lockdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the metro area’s most dependable and most consistently intriguing venues for viewing visual art is once more welcoming guests: Clayton’s Bruno David Gallery.
Succeeding an interesting collection of interim offerings – one of them a group exhibition of almost daunting scope titled “OVERVIEW_2020,” which showcased the works of roughly four dozen artists – the gallery will spotlight a quartet of creators from Sept. 12 to Oct. 24: St. Louisan Michael Byron with “The Wheel of Fortune & How to Build a Ghost,” Chris Kahler with “SHIFT,” St. Louisan William Morris in the gallery’s Media Room with The Protest Project and Patricia Olynyk in the gallery’s Window on Forsyth with “Oculus.”
The visual art oasis also has returned to its regular summer operating hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday, as well as by appointment. Admission, as ever, remains free.
With characteristic equanimity, the gallery’s namesake relates how, both professionally and personally, he weathered the coronaviral lockdown.
“Following state and local regulations, the gallery closed to the public in early March and reopened in mid-July,” David says. “During that time, I worked from home and stayed in touch with the artists and clients about their practice and their health.
“As of now, we are all doing well. I think the most difficult part was not knowing fully the disaster we were all facing.”
He then recounts how the enforced hiatus affected the gallery’s schedule, artist availability and other factors.
“The exhibitions by [James Austin] Murray, [Tom] Reed, [Christina] Shmigel, [Frank] Schwaiger and [Patricia] Olynyk ended up on the walls for 3½ months with no visitors for 14-plus weeks!” David says. “At least we had a great turnout for their opening on Feb. 29, with 275-plus visitors, and two weeks after.
“The interruption also affected six exhibitions that had been scheduled more than a year ago and pushed the 2020-2021 season by six or more months.”
David continues by adopting a wider, even historical perspective: “I opened my first gallery in New York City in 1984 and in 2005 in St. Louis. The gallery has been through a few world financial crises, relocations, the first SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] pandemic in 2003 and so forth.
“This [novel coronavirus] is sadly affecting everything more than we’ve ever seen since [the Spanish influenza pandemic of] 1918. I think it will have a profound and philosophical influence on the art, as much or maybe even more following the savagery of World War I in the early 1900s.”
David’s tone lifts considerably on recalling how it felt to finally reopen to art devotees nonvirtually. (During the lockdown, the gallery continued to maintain its customarily robust digital profile on its website, on Artsy and elsewhere.)
“It was the greatest day for me since the closing in early March,” David says. “We ended up setting up our summer show, ‘OVERVIEW_2020,’ and it was so wonderful to see new works on the walls.”
Finally, the affable gallerist briefly shares what most intrigues him, from a collective standpoint, about the forthcoming works of Byron, Kahler, Morris and Olynyk. “These four artists work in different mediums,” David says, “but they’re connected in showing the true nature of love, caring, truth, hope, history, our journey – and our future.”
Bruno David Gallery, 7513 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, 314-696-2377, brunodavidgallery.com
Stay up-to-date on what's happening
Receive the latest in local entertainment news in your inbox weekly!