Straddling the Line of Propriety

Structure of Steel, Marilynne Bradley, 2021

Straddling the Line of Propriety is Marilynne Bradley’s new art show that is currently exhibiting her paintings (until April 15th), downtown in the Arcade Building. Local artist, high school teacher and Webster University alum Ms. Bradley’s works feature many of the Saint Louis area’s iconic landmarks. Her painting style is characterized with the use of both bright colors and straight lines. The title of this show is derived from a quote of the American author Joseph Campbell that describes the difference between proper and improper art or to paraphrase him, art for art’s sake versus art that is in service of something else. Dan, another Webster U. alum, had received a postcard invitation to this show. This postcard sported the above featured painting, which I believe depicts the Old Chain of Rocks bridge. I liked her work, both for its choice of subjects and the style that she uses.

Arcade Building

Equally impressive was the venue where this show is held. The Arcade Building is a portmanteau of sorts, composed of two buildings that were once built separately and then combined into one. Pictured is the building’s espousal arcade. It started in 1906 as the Wright Building, which later in 1919 was wrapped around by the Arcade Building. The building’s design is in the Gothic revival style. This once office building was also once a very tony business address. Eventually though time and wear took its toll and the building sat vacant for decades, a poster child for the urban decay that came to symbolize downtown Saint Louis. In 2015 the once office building reopened as an apartment building, after undergoing an extensive gut rehab. Arcade Apartments features special rates for struggling artists.

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