August 4, 2013 · 6 Comments
Vox Populi Gallery was closed, but the 319 N. 11th building was hopping First Friday, with all five of the second floor galleries open, and the shows are well worth the visit — although note that Grizzly, which was open First Friday for a one-night animation festival, is closed the rest of the month. The balmy weather outside was reflected on the inside of the building, as usual, but at Practice, the We the Weeds project was serving cool cocktails flavored with local herbs, from their portable speakeasy in the gallery’s rear. They would tell you about the herbs and it was all very educational. And the citrus-y flavored, amber-colored beverage I sampled from Andrea, who had bought one, was delicious. This drinks cart should travel from gallery to gallery — it would do a lot of educational (and social) good!
Meanwhile, the project was collecting voluntary samples of seeds from the bottoms of peoples shoes and pants bottoms. Just walk the catwalk over the potted dirt field below and scrape off your shoes and pants legs to leave your deposit. And because this is a science-art project, there is a “control” pot of unadulterated dirt sitting on a pedestal – hilarious (in a good way).
The short animations at Grizzly Grizzly (one night only, curated by the local Oof collective) are a mix of mostly-jaunty, and buoyantly-colorful stop-motion and live-action videos. I was happy to make their acquaintance. You could see the influence of Ryan Trecartin in the facial masks and extreme makeup in one; and in another, the flat, watercolor cut-and-paste aesthetic of Jennifer Levonian, a member of Oof. It made the 20-minute program comfortably familiar. Andrea’s comment was that the animations all seemed to have an illustration-based aesthetic, which is right, they did. I am wondering how far animations will ever wander from the illustrational, since there’s a story-telling component at work in most of them. The musical soundtracks on a couple were notable, however when words ensued, it was a mumbly garble, probably an effect of the sound system. Except for one stroboscopic piece, which hurt my eyes, the animations are youthful and experimental, and if you missed them, these folks all probably have a web presence so you can see their works online. I would love to see more short animation festivals in town.
Marginal Utility has its third annual emerging artist show with Brian Artigue, Alexis Kandra, Scott Schultheis, C.J. Stahl and Ashley Wick. The gallery shape shifted again–into something more conventional than its usual L-shaped lozenge. In the front space, there’s a cave-like installation with nice large wall paintings of animals by Alexis Kandra and some painted animations implanted into cement-like tube sculptures — very loveable. And in the rear space, accessed by a conventional doorway, sits a tiny, back door/front door stage set with a video component, and a hanging sculpture. The whole show is theatrical. Go see it. (I am sorry I don’t know who made what pieces, but indeed the show seemed an installation by a group — it was remarkably seamless).
At Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA), the group show of abstract works curated by gallery member Douglas Witmer greets you cheerfully, a cool-as-a-cucumber abstract painting show.
We were running late so didn’t get into Napoleon, but they’ve got a group show up as well.
I don’t think he was posing the question, but Tyler Held’s wonderful new sculpture (one year in the making) at Space 1026 made me want to ask How many Doritos can dance on the tip of a big toe? The piece is an existential marvel. You laugh, you cry. He’s twisted like a yogi or maybe smashed down from a suicide leap. Tyler is a particular favorite of artblog. And this figurative work, while a departure stylistically from his found object works (the car in the cell at Eastern State Penitentiary), the same loneliness ensues. The Dorito on the toe may lift the untitled work to comedy or farce, but it’s still got a lot of believably raw emotion in it as well. A must-see.
Tags: alain biltereyst, animation festival, catwalk, donald martiny, douglas witmer, grizzly grizzly, herbal drinks, icewater flyswatter, marginal utility, mark wethli, oof collective, participatory art, Practice Gallery, sees, space 1026, speakeasy, third annual emerging artist show, tsa, tyler held, we the weeds