Above: All of the drawings/hanging bandits by Cory Sever are made of mixed media (Courtesy of Ashlee Carlstrom/The Current)

By Ashlee Carlstrom, Staff Writer

Gallery Visio takes on another vibrant gallery show with “American Gypsy.” This exhibit is located in the showroom of Gallery Visio near the Nosh in the lower level of the Millennium Student Center. The artist of “American Gypsy” is St. Louis painter, drawer, and sculptor, Cory Sever.

Sever’s pieces are spread throughout the gallery in a simplistic way that highlights each piece beautifully. Along with artwork on the walls, there are also hanging sculptures of masks that make the room pop with a feeling of curiosity. Sever uses mixed media in his creations. All of the colors that he uses are bright and appealing to the eye. Although the colors are bright, the emotions from the drawings exude darkness.

Stuart Shadwell, director of Gallery Visio, said, “Cory Sever intended to buy a camper and travel around the states and he was going to make art. But certain factors prevented him from doing that. He created a fictional cast of bandits. Each one is a demon that holds him back from making this spiritual and artistical quest.”

By looking and analyzing the artwork, the artist seems happy to draw and construct, but there is a sense of anger to his pieces. It is like he was forced to draw what he desired, but he brought out his true feelings of containment and limitations. “He mixed in auto-biographical details into the drawings. I like his use of color and the interplay of three dimensional masks and two dimensional figure drawings of the masks,” said Shadwell.

Cory Sever described his intentions behind “American Gypsy”: “When approaching the show ‘American Gypsy,’ I wanted to create a narrative journey within each piece. I created a clan of bandits all representing an opposing force trying to deflect myself from achieving a limitless freedom. The idea of leaving home is shown through the series of wearable sculptures and drawings displayed at Gallery Visio.”

In “There’s Nothing Left Here,” the outline of the body is very structured and displays a great use of shadows. This piece stands out amongst the rest because it is drawn mostly with pencil and with some different shades of green and brown tones. The hands of the man in the drawing are gripping his thighs. One of the hands is hanging above his right thigh and you can see the imprint of his hand. The other hand is still clenching his left thigh.

The second piece that was eye catching is one of the hanging bandits, called “Gold Bandit I.” This mask is the piece that stands above all of the other pieces. The mask is covered with gold lace and sequin trim with two crosses intricately sewn on the face. The mask expresses glory and a readiness to battle, but in a haunting way.

Sever’s works of art are beautiful, but show the ugliness of his restraints from freedom. “American Gypsy” opened on September 16 and will end on October 8. For more information on upcoming Visio exhibits, visit the gallery online at umsl.edu/~galvisio or call 314-516-7922.