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We’re happy to introduce this new feature following first Friday every month, in which our friend LiV will review gallery openings. This month: the Merge group show at Andenken Gallery.
From a totally unbiased point of view (I’d never been to the gallery before, nor heard of the artists), everything, from the ultra-modern artwork to the live cello entertainment to the happy hipster crowd, was plain ol’ radical to the max. A fun, inspiring event that had me drooling all evening.
The first of four artists was Vincent Camparetto, whose work lit the entrance, literally, & caught my eye right away. My first impression? Vincent has a knack for cohesive layering of interesting elements, like textured photos and cleverly stenciled (sandblasted?) messages/patterns. And of course the soft light in the background made each piece especially intriguing in the room, and great for photographing. (Thanks, dude.)
The second was Amanda Marie. Oh Amanda, how you made my heart sing. Most of her work had me saying “Wow, that’s smart” over & over. Lots of interesting repetition in both the foreground(s) & background(s). Sloppy overlapping, in some cases, with a playful result. There was a feminine touch too that I admired right away, even before knowing she was a she. (I wonder if anyone else saw that?)
The third was Scot Lefavor, whose titles alone were works of art. “Why Shit Sucks in ’08” and “Sometimes I Feel Like… Somebody’s Watching Me!” … makes me wish I would’ve met him that night. His paintings were, I have to say, my favorite of the evening. Big chunks of solid color, high contrast of mostly primaries versus black. Big words, and more importantly, big messages. And as if the size alone of each piece wasn’t enough to grab me by the eyeballs, his themes were always original, often absurd & sometimes perverse. In a word, awesometastic!
And finally there was the talented Ian Cooke, whose work wasn’t hanging on the wall. After wandering around the main room a few times, I turned a crowded corner, and there he was, playing his cello & singing his complicated, original lyrics. Talk about talent. I stood & watched him for a good while. I looked around the room at all the open mouths & thought of how much I’d love to listen to him while painting in the bathtub or driving with the windows down. And so I took a little bit of him home for my listening pleasure, for just $10.
Lots of things made it a great night for me. Standing on the sidewalk amidst the young-ish crowd, keeping warm near a flaming pig of iron outside an art gallery of super-talent… now that’s the stuff of a good First Friday. The music, the creativity, the ambience in general (especially with Vincent’s work)… was all very stimulating. A great night, indeed. If you happened to miss the show last week, sorry to say you missed out.
Until next time,