Black Floor lineup

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I ran into the new Black Floor gallery over the weekend. Black Floor is a collective operating in the great tradition of Providence (as in Fort Thunder, Paper Rad and Space 1026). There’s a gallery but artist’s working space is an equally big part of the operation. You can’t keep a good idea down. (image is Black Floor members, left to right, Annette Monnier, James Dillon, Nick Paparone and Elsa Shadley. Missing from the shot are Gerik Forston and Carrie Collins.)

Black Floor is in the up-and-coming North Chinatown neighborhood north of Vine St., in a mixed use building at 319 N. 11th St. There’s a big open gallery and work space for the Print Liberation Army‘s design and screen printing business and a sewing studio for Black Floor members who make everything from clothes and bags to soft sculpture. (image is Dillon and Paparone in their PLA studio.)

Here’s Shadley in the adjoining sewing space. I have to say the workspace reminded me of the graduate student studios I saw when visiting Cranbrook.
shadley, elsa


The gallery’s two person exhibit by Northern Kentucky artists Beth Graves and Russell Ihrig, friends of the native Northern Kentuckian Black Floor members, is autobiographical, playful, nicely done — and pretty darned forlorn. I won’t do a complete review here. It’s a show worth seeing. (above is Graves‘ “Cracked Glacier/Grass” a photo of a sculpy sculpture that’s laminated on to a faux tabletop)
graves, beth

Both artists stretch their way through a broad range of materials in their autobiographical works (everything from photography to sculpture to audio and video). Ihrig is best at capturing the small town-ness of his life and at picking apart anthropoligically who he is and where he comes from. Graves weaves together a trip to Iceland with her thoughts about home, and the results are beautiful in an icy and distanced kind of way. (Above is Graves‘ piece “Collection” which was paper florets of landscape pinned to a tabletop — kind of Japanese and very beautiful)


This is Ihrig‘s purposely fuzzy photo “La Belle Vue” a digital print of the artist sitting in his father’s barbershop presumably without his glasses on and getting a haircut. The fisheye point of view and fuzzy orientation to the world feels perfect for a work about memory and perception.

Ihrig’s homage to some juvenile delinquents in his high school graduating class, “Party Animals (class of ’99),” uses board that’s been painted with “greenboard” paint and the images are chalked on. Those are black balloons on the black floor and it’s all behind streamers that are jail bars.

The lineup for shows is already pretty much set for the gallery for the next year. Monnier, shown here holding one of her paintings, a black on white linear affair depicting a cat whose head is at an improbable 90 degree angle from its body, will show her work in February, 2006.

But before that, in my randomized listing service, comes Small Change‘s Mad Cat Women’s Film Festival, a one-night only event, April 29. Coming in July is work by Matt Coors and Jimmy Baker; August is Erin Feller‘s body referencing works; Sabrina (they don’t know her last name) will show in October; November is Shephard Fairey; December is Alex da Corte. March, 2006 is Swoon (seen last year at space 1026).

Dillon and Paparone are putting together a show of their own works that’ll be at Space 1026 in October.

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