[ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JUNE 2015]
I was working quite late on First Friday, so I only had time to hit up two exhibits! I started out at Gallery 5. Their First Friday show was Dating in the Afterlife. It featured the works of Sean Sweeny and Miles Washington.
“My recent artwork is about the exploration of two polar ideas relating to myself in an autobiographical sense. The ideas are represented in two separate sets of paintings.” Washington stated.
“The first set being my collage paintings that are about the process of influence and creation as well as visual aesthetics. These paintings introduce the viewer to a dense visual field filled collaged photo “samples” consisting of wooden objects, fabrics and other textural pieces.
These elements come together to form a sculptural framework for the rest of the painting to be built upon.”
“The second set of paintings are more design oriented and utilize a self-made set of symbols used to depict the more concrete aspects of my personality. The symbols often denote things like, what I know to be true about myself, and traits associated with my astrological sign. The visual field in this set is uncluttered and uses similar aspects to ancient hieroglyphs.” Washington continued.
“I feel that these two separate approaches offer a unique contrast and allow the viewer a glimpse into my personal space. The first set operating on a more emotionally charged level and the second set introduces a more esoteric and abstract vision of the self.”
“My interdisciplinary practice focuses on lightness and gravity, seeking to create poetic moments of objects appearing to be simultaneously floating and subject to the pull of gravity.” Sweeny said of his art.
“While traveling in destitute areas, I became intrigued with a variety of found objects in deteriorated spaces. This discovery led me to further consider their original ready-made commercial state and the possibility of manipulating the material in order to create moments of pause in time and space. Materials I use have been altered, and while some are no longer recognizable, others are left in a raw state. The alterations aestheticize the materials with a balance of elegant crudeness creating a dichotomy that draws the viewer in.”
(This was my favorite piece, not sure why, it just is very visually appealing to me)
I really enjoyed the plaster and found object art. There was something calming about it. After I perused the art, I went down to the stage level where Lady God was performing. I have heard them before at a house show, and they are one of my favorite Richmond bands! The male singer has a weird nasally voice that sounds really cool and the girl bassist/singer is super cool. Every one of their songs make you want to dance!
A few days later, I stepped inside Ada Gallery to see what I had missed. I was greeted with a variety of candy-colored sketches on white paper. Hanging were the works of Jimmy Trotter. The show was called Shakey Ground.
Immediately, I am gripped with childhood nostalgia. I see many characters from my childhood Saturday cartoons-and-sugary-cereal mornings. Once you look a little closer, more and more adult themes creep in. Mickey Mouse has a cigarette in his mouth. There are pills scattered on the canvas. The words “double homicide” scrawled in a pink so light, you might miss it. A cartoon guy wringing his hands nervously, the thought “10 days clean?!” floating above his head. It’s kind of fun trying to find them all.
I’m not gonna assume I know what the artist was saying, but what I got out of it was that as you become an adult, adult themes permeate into your childhood memories. Or rather, adult themes that were already there come to the surface now that you understand them. I urge you to interpret it in your own way though. I loved this exhibit! So many colorful characters sprawled chaotically on the paper! It was very fun.
I also had a nice conversation with the curator, John Pollard. About art, art critiquing, and interpreting, ect. The next time you go to a gallery on First Friday, I suggest you talk to the artist and the curator, because they really do have interesting things to say and theywant to talk about it.
Here is Lady God’s page: https://meetladygod.bandcamp.com/album/lady-god-presents-the-pebbles
Ada Gallery’s website: http://www.adagallery.com/
Gallery 5′s website: http://gallery5arts.org/newsitedesign/
Jimmy Trotter’s page: http://www.adagallery.com/Jimmy_Trotter.html