The Blue Raccoon

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Walking And Talking: January First Friday

This is Art6, but the September show, but it was about the same temperature. And, I like pink and a woman's right to bare arms. Via Art6 archives, Danielle Nilson, for Jimmy Warner Design.

A non-wintry evening, and fair temperatures, brought the faithful out for First Friday though without Virginia Commonwealth University's students and faculty back in full force from the holidays, the crowds weren't as thick downtown but still notable. These days, we've become accustomed to packed sidewalks as platoons march from gallery to gallery but this way, we actually got to spend time with art and the people who make the work.

Despite the fewer numbers, seemed to me there were petitioners everywhere on Broad Street, for whatever political cause and ballot-qualification; and flyer distributors for this band or that performance. Two of these were for WRIR's upcoming third birthday party at the Renaissance Center, 107 W, Broad St., February 1, 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., and it's always a great time. Slam Richmond's third season is also beginning.

And the annoying and young street preachers were out in number with a freaking bullhorn. They are persuaded that cheese and red wine are the transubtantiatives of those borne for perdition.

The Partner In Art For Life and I enjoyed dinner at home then walked arm and arm to the Glave-Kocen Gallery on Main to see a group show of which friend and colleague Steve Hedberg was a part. We got there too late to see Steve.

We departed to walk zig zag across the Fan to Franklin and joined up with the main art event on Broad and 1708 Gallery. There, I walked around and underneath Kai Richter's installation which reminded me of several things: in observing recent renovations of downtown buildings, the sluice of timbers that come sliding down from flumes placed at second and third story buildings; an arrested collapse of a wooden structure as though frozen in time, and, the mixture of needles for an old Ker-Plunk! game. [As seen here via lauriekendrick]

There we teamed up with Katherine Henry and continued our progress though conscious of how we'd gotten a late start. By time we got to art6, we'd missed Marsden Williams. A former student, Marsden's work is bold, in terms of line and and color, and Matisse-like.

I was also impressed not just by the size of Gayle Lowry's landscapes but how I was reminded of the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

We then hied over to Transmission where for a few moments we stood outside and watched a puppet show in progress. Transmission is a small place, and crowded by an audience enjoying themselves, and we were motioned in and found room to stand toward the door side.

Here, we watched artist/puppeteer Sean Samoheyl. He is someone who seems informed both by South Park and Philip Guston and Bread & Puppet Theatre, so that's quite a combination. He straps his stage to himself by means of an ingenious apron device that both obscures the mechanics of his puppet manipulation and transforms himself into a living theater. We got into the story mid-plot, but Matt McDonald who works on a farm had come into a thrift store run by a friend Seth and accompanied by a guy named Ernest who spoke only through a megaphone and possessed great knowledge of conspiracy theories and a willingness to discuss them.

Matt seemed concerned about Seth's thrift store habits, admonishing him, "I don't know much about like interventions and stuff, but Seth, you're addicted to trifting!" Seth admitted to owning some 400 pairs of pants that he doesn't wear, and that he'd organized them according to straight leg, flat front, etc. But now he managed the store, and in appreciation for Matt's concern, handed him a bag of clothes.

The presentation was quite amusing. There's a variety of work from a across the country, drawings and prints, in this Word Made Fresh show.

On the street, I could see the fire twirlers and here the whoosh of controlled flames in front of Gallery5.

We ske-daddled then for Ghostprint Gallery where a long-ago student of Amie's, Chet Naylor, has his Unified Field exhibition. I thought of a recent show I'd seen about galaxies and how his tumultuous forms and colors reminded me of images taken in space of other whirling cosmic bodies.

Amie caught up with Chet, meanwhile I got a very nice call from Katie and Heather at the New York Deli, as they'd already done Gallery5 and retreated to Carytown. Tempting, but I'd just had my Annual Nativity event there--and they'd missed the gathering by probably a half hour. Though my feet were hurting a bit and I was sitting in the window when Katie Ukrop came by and joked that this was where I was holding court. Jason ambled in and there was amiable chat.

We ambled past ada but what we back was John's back as he talked with a couple whose backs were turned our way. The hour was advanced; Amie sought to take pictures of the art we could see through the windows as she doubted she'd get back here to otherwise see the work.

But it was time to go! Pushing on past toward 11 p.m.. Katherine was kind to give us a ride home.

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