Today was the opening of Social Work Works: Paintings by Lou Storey at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton. This is another in the ongoing series of ECVA (Episcopal Church & Visual Arts). Let's just say that I help curate these shows and keep the focus of this post on these exuberant works by Lou, an artist and friend I've known since we both transferred into Pratt Institute in 1974.
As an artist, Lou has always been totally inner driven. To me, his work always seemed to remain unscathed by outside pressures exerted by the professors, the art magazines, or the art market. He just kept on producing a steady stream of ebullient works that could be whimsical or satirical or both and, no matter what, always filled with an incredible energy. Whether oil paintings of familiar objects from the studio or completely fantastic scenes from inside his head or total absractions--his work is always immediate and alive.
A few years ago, Lou discontinued his business as an award winning exhibition designer to go back to school to get his MSW so he could enter the "helping profession." When I first heard of this plan, I assumed it would curtail his art production--going back to school at our age would be pretty time consuming. But not too time consuming to stop the flow Lou's creativity. These 24 incredible pieces in paint and bas relief created by shapes he hand cast in the studio and affixed to the surface of his canvas are proof enough.
These paintings chronicle his journey into the realm of social work--through school, through his clinical internships, and through his first two positions in the field. They incorporate layers and layers of intricate patterns, symbols, shapes, and textures--both two- and three-dimensional. Applied with almost frenetic energy, the marks cover every available space on the canvas and march beyond the picture plane over the frames and around the sides.
At the opening, Lou's works were equally intriguing to the social workers who attended as to the lay people ingnorant of the concepts these works explored. And for the uninitiated who want to learn more about the words used in the works, the artist provided a number of statments about the concepts he was grappling with in his parallel journey as he created these works.
The show is at Trinity Cathedral, 801 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. It's best to call for hours because the space gets a lot of official use - 609-392-3805.
Kudos to you, Lou.