Slide by Slide
My Gallery Night began on the near South side, wound through two community art centers, north and east to Inova, and back to the Third Ward. The color and sounds of each venue and the communities each space engaged changed like slides in a projector.
Like a neighborhood house party, the hosts welcomed guests with food and conversation. Personal, humorous, nostalgic or enigmatic, the ofrendas invited guests to share personal tributes to the dead. A wire dress form was draped in visual poetry: a child’s frock garlanded with flowers and shells, tiny wings for arms, a red and white bird perched like a visiting spirit.
The Nohl Fellowship 2010 artists from 2010 are showing at Inova. The exhibition has a cool, contemporary feel, starting with the grid of dead plants in plastic pots.
Film and video ruled at Inova. Existing within the gallery were small screens filled with patterned static, huge projections of emoting faces set to cinematic sound, and a wall of clattering projectors spilling banal scenes on a gridded white wall.
Waldek Dynerman’s Inventory provided a dark and cluttered refuge. His installation retained traces of its own construction, filled with directional markers, plastic mannequin parts, simple mechanical devices, medical tubing, purple neon light, painted walls and floors, framed collages, and blurry projections. Lured inside, the viewer is captured on video, becoming both watcher and watched.
RedLine glowed red, orange, yellow, pink and green with the graffti art of New Skool.
The space vibrated with color and sound.
The wall text asks, “What is Graffiti? Should it be kept in the streets? Is it allowed in a gallery space?” Four artists, who work as mentors to urban youth, had sprayed and encrusted the gallery walls, merging image and text, media and message to create The Visual Mix Tape.
Madonna & Child: Interpreted is a lumpy but tasty concoction installed in the Third Ward restaurant, Soups On. The theme show, curated by William Zuback, overflowed its space with a Gallery Night crowd.
The “Madonna and Child” theme loosely connected the work of 32 artists in a wide range of media and styles.
Some of the entries are traditional reflections on the theme, while others question traditional roles, document the reality of parenting, or explore emotional interpretations. A pair of whimsical constructions blended the iconography of an African goddess and colonial saints. A black-and-white photograph portrayed a painfully swollen pregnant figure. A young father cradled a babe in his arms.
Tory Folliard Gallery was still lively as Gallery Night drew to a close. The white cube space featured layered paintings by Jason Rohlf and carved historic bricks by Chris Berti. Rohlf attempts to capture the feel of urban palimpsests in his work, layering and contrasting distressed textures with clean graphic elements. His color palette is aggressively cheerful, with teal, lapis, cadmium orange, and acid yellows playing across canvasses like sunlight through trees. Warm, tactile surfaces alternate with hard-edged elements, intertwining melodies of a duet in a rhythmic, musical exchange.
There is much more to see, but time prevents. “Current Tendencies” at the Haggerty Museum of Art, Gregory Martens at Independence First, the Portrait Society Gallery’s “Men of Leisure” — all must await another day.
Susan Barnett’s photos from Gallery Night, along with photos by Photo Editor Brian Jacobson at shows at the David Barnett Gallery and the Arts Building on Pittsburgh Avenue can be seen in our flickr account here.