Thursday, August 21, 2008

Visual Arts Collective

I've been to Visual Arts Collective before, when it was on Grove Street (it's on Osage now, just off Chinden behind the Woman of Steel Gallery). I remember ... lots of sculptures with gas masks. So when I went to watch Boys' Life there a couple weeks ago and look at some of the exhibits at the same time, I knew to expect some unusual pieces.

I was not, however, prepared for a detailed, cross-hatched ink drawing of the evil toy monkey from Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. (Hi! I'm Satan-approved!) It was surrounded by the faces of three men, rendered in watery sepia India ink.

The evil toy monkey was actually from one of my favorite exhibits at the VAC, a collection of circus-themed sculptures and paintings. I'm afraid I don't know who the artist was, because not all of the pieces at VAC were well-labeled. There were pieces with painted clowns and sculpted elephants and warnings printed on the canvas: "Beware of dog." "Warning." "Use only as directed." "Keep out of reach of children." I liked these mixed media collages a lot. I think clowns should be kept out of reach of children as a general rule.

[I'm writing this post a few weeks after I took these hastily scrawled notes about the art, and I don't entirely understand what all of my notes say any more. But one of them, with a line drawn to my notes on the circus pieces, says, "Create your own schizophrenic puppet." I think that was the text in another of these circus-themed collages. Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it was awesome.]

Another of my favorite exhibits was a sculpture with several rubber gloves, each of which had a label printed on it: "Take one tab by mouth every 24 hours." "Lexapro -- used to treat depression." "Prednisone $5.32."

There were also some collages on newspaper with painted images of red skulls, space shuttles, diagrams of the brain and pictoral step-by-step instructions for putting someone in a straitjacket.

It would be easy to consider the art pretentious if there wasn't a band onstage at the time playing songs with lyrics like "rock out with your cock out" and "hung like Jesus."

The large black and gray paintings with silhouettes of ginkgo leaves, dragonflies and dandelions were both nicely done and a nice change of pace from the often confusing message pieces. So was Alchemy, a collection of miscellaneous colorful resin squares.

1 comment:

vesperstar said...

That evil toy monkey is pretty freaky. I do love the whole Merlin's episode.