Saturday, January 16, 2010

BLIND DATE (S) – which should be in red marker.

If you are old enough to remember the board game “Mystery Date”, then you won’t have to be afraid to open this door and see your options. Rest assured it won’t be the “dud” under that cardboard flap.

I made it a point to get downtown and see the Blind Date show which everybody is talking about. Only had a dime for the meter so good thing nobody was checking as I needed more than 8 minutes to enjoy the show. Anderson Creative is the host venue, Kevin Anderson is the proud babysitter, and Craig Joseph gets credit as the friend who set up his other friends on this blind date. We all know how those can turn out so he was wise to test the idea on his known circle of supporters lest it failed. He can breathe a sigh of relief as the pairings seemed to have worked out well in most cases. Will all of them be lasting matches made in heaven? No, but so what, those few mismatches had a good time and good conversation anyway and we all get to eavesdrop on their date.

At first, I was not too sure I liked the thumbtack idea holding up the papers, but as I progressed through the space, it grew on me and eventually I found myself wishing for some papers and thumbtacks of my own so as to add a comment or two beside a few of the works. The red marker corrections on the text portions of the show are brilliant. According to Kevin, they were an afterthought to correct some errors, but I found them pleasantly interactive and as a former teacher, delighted to know someone cared enough to proofread the writings and possibly damage some poor soul’s self esteem (red pens aren’t allowed in some schools anymore for fear it looks “bad”.)

I should mention here that I am not going to review the show piece by piece or do any of that type of commentary. Others have done that already. Google the gallery, it will connect you at the following: My focus is more of what did I notice and why, as well as why you should go see it too (take more change than I did if you go during the week). Okay, I will admit it, I have a short attention span for reading things on a wall, partly due to weak eyesight on my part and it doesn’t matter the size of type used. That being said, when I could make a quick connection between a visual work and it’s writing, I made it a point to read every word. If I had to work at it, I moved on. My behavior is typical of the GP whether we like it or not. Rather ironic because I include long text stories for each of my own pieces in a show and expect people to read them, so I should be more respectful of others in that regard. But I am not, I know, shame on me. Okay fine.

Ashley Barlow’s work needs it own solo show, however explanations of the imagery would be a good idea. Sarah Shumaker deserves one too; only her work can stand on its own as imagery that needs time to appreciate all the layers and materials. Some artists are starting to show signs of artistic cohabitation which may or may not be a good thing for either one of them. Like I said, there are some dates that did not work out well, but that is my personal opinion. In some cases the text was mentally superior to the imagery which did not even capture the thought process I got from the words. Other times, the two forms seemed to have been done as a collaborative effort as if the two partners snuck off on a secret liaison before the show was mounted.

I will highlight one piece as a way of explanation. “New Orleans” by Dawn Dettmann and the construction (furniture) piece that went with it by Kevin Anderson (not selected here just because he is a nice guy and happened to be there…..). I just got back from New Orleans and a tour of the lower 9th ward. Like I said, I didn’t read all the words, and in this case, I only read the last word of each line ala my speed reading technique from long ago. Those simple rhyming words are all it took for me as the connection between written word and visual creation is immediate. The open drawers with the little houses in them, disappearing if you will or sinking into a hue of bloody brown, captures the devastation of New Orleans or it can be viewed in reverse as they step up and rebuild. There are several additional metaphors to this piece which if you have been there (in Katrina’s wake), will strike you as well.

I can see a couple of marriages in the future, Van Misheff and McNulty for one. Several others should at least get engaged and see what happens. I think Craig’s idea is a clever one and well worth trying again. Like a new recipe, sometimes it takes a bit of tweaking to get the best taste and I look forward to his next round of pairings. My only criticism is that I would have liked to have known the city of origin for the writers and artists. Sometimes their location gives a bit of insight to the writings or the imagery. For now, all we have to go on is the show’s statement as to who these people are. I know the local artists but others’ don’t. Overall though, kudos to Kevin and I wish him continued growth and success with his space downtown and to Craig, you have good friends young man, but can’t one of them loan you a spare bedroom?

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