Designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn as the B’nai Amoona Synagogue, COCA’s strikingly innovative mid-century building, completed in 1950, was the first modernist approach to synagogue architecture in the United States and was the storied architect’s first American building. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been COCA’s home since 1977.
The visionary Mendelsohn, a contemporary of Walter Gropius and Mies vander Rohe, produced works that have influenced generations of architects.
Architecture in Focus: Finding Inspiration from Erich Mendelsohn features 15 photographic works by young, emerging and professional St. Louis-based artists of all ages. The exhibition is curated by COCA’s Curator-in-Residence Yvonne Osei to celebrate architectural ingenuity and showcase a breadth of artistic explorations of architectural subjects. In these photographs, architecture functions as a symbol of power, a structural reminder of memories and history, a vessel for personal and communal space, as well as evidence of industrial and aesthetic prowess.
(Free; open to the public during COCA hours.)
Presented by The Arthur & Helen Baer Charitable Foundation
With additional support from The Millstone Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission and the Arts and Education Council
JOHN BLAIR is an artist, poet and musician. He is an adjunct instructor in English Composition and Psychology at a trade college and a contributing writer for All The Art, a visual arts quarterly magazine in St. Louis. He is currently exhibiting his photographic series, “Blues for Jim Crow” in the “Documents of the Time” exhibition at Jacoby Arts Centers in Alton, Illinois. Blair has a Doctorate of Ministry and Masters of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He also received his MA in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in several galleries in St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri.
EMMA CONNELL is a seventeen-year-old high school student, musician, and photographer born and raised in South City Saint Louis. She is currently studying instrumental music at Grand Center Arts Academy. Connell has had an interest in art from a young age, and has been experimenting with photography for three years. Her work addresses self-identity in teenage girls and women ghting against systems of oppression.
WYNDI DESOUZA is a New Jersey born artist based in St. Louis. The distance from her home and family directly informs the themes in her work. DeSouza’s art practice utilizes mail art, photography, video, installation, and books to present what she refers to as abstract data. Every project she works on builds on non-traditional archives that examine and visualize location, emotion
and relationships between people.
RYAN DUFFY is a St. Louis based artist whose work often features surreal perspectives of mundane life. He graduated from Webster University with a BA in Photography and Business Management, and has been featured in several galleries, both local and national. Duffy is the winner of the Nancy Underwood Photography Scholarship in 2012 and in 2013 and was the rst Webster undergraduate student to have a solo exhibit at the Sheldon Art Galleries. He has taught photography at Ranken Technical College and currently works at Webster University. In addition to photography, Ryan also works in music and poetry.
SANDY GUTIERREZ is an award-winning fashion, editorial, and portrait photographer. She has been photographing for 7 years, and continues to make her mark in St. Louis through her works. Gutierrez specializes in fashion photography but also has a passion for landscape photography. Her work has been featured in several international fashion publications, local magazines, and local galleries. Gutierrez inspiration and passion is fuelled by her ability to connect with people and travel to new locations.
JEREMY HINTON is a St. Louis native, is a practicing architect at Christner, Inc. He attended Kansas State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture. Following university, Hinton spent nearly 15 years working for Tigerman McCurry Architects, a Chicago rm known for its tradition of innovative architectural design practices. His architectural projects have been published in various magazines including Architectural Digest and Architectural Record as well as several books. It was during his time in Chicago that he developed a passion for sharing his love for architecture through photography. Hinton currently sits on the board of the Sheldon Art Galleries.
KEN KONCHEL is an architectural photographer keenly interested in capturing the architectural subject in an abstract and graphic way. For him, a successful photograph removes the context and distills architecture to nothing but relationships of shape, line, pattern, detail, tonality, and surface. In 2014, Konchel published a monograph of his images titled Architectonic. He also received a commission in May 2016 to May 2017 from Lambert St Louis International Airport’s Art and Culture Program. Konchel has exhibited widely in museums and galleries including Evansville Museum of Arts in Evansville, IN; Truman State University Art Gallery in Kirksville, MO; Katie Gringrass Gallery in Milwaukee, WI; Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago in Chicago, IL; and Fontbonne University Gallery in St. Louis.
ERIC PAN is a 24 year-old Chinese-American photographer based in St. Louis. He is currently pursuing a career in pharmacy. After taking a keen interest in art history during his senior year of high school and traveling to Europe with a point-and-shoot camera, Pan developed a deep fascination with images and composition. His journey in photography began six years ago and has since evolved into an eclectic yet personal style. He has covered the Ferguson protests as well as the most recent actions of civil unrest in response to the Stockley verdict.
KATHERINE SIMÓNE REYNOLDS is a Saint Louis based artist creating conceptual portraits and architectural photography. She received her BA in Dance from Webster University, and integrates sensibilities in dance and movement into her creative practice. Reynolds has exhibited within many institutions around Saint Louis, including the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, and the Luminary. Internationally, she was hired by ImPulsTanz, the largest contemporary dance festival in Europe, as the event photographer where she worked on photographic and performance projects within the MUMOK, the Weltmuseum, and many other unique venues around Vienna, Austria.
NEENA WANG is an artist living in St. Louis. She recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. Wang is currently working as a curatorial assistant at Granite City Art and Design District in Granite City, Illinois.