Monday, June 27, 2011

Exhibit: Paper, Rock, Scissors

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM


Joel Tracey and Arthur Brouthers founded Culture Initiative two years ago to try and inject more enthusiasm and energy into the Charlotte art scene. Tracey tells me that their latest show, Paper, Rock, Scissors, aims to shake up the traditional gallery going experience.

“Visitors can expect to be presented with photography and screen prints framed in a manner not seen in staid galleries around the area,” Tracey explains.

The artists were given the task of representing rock 'n' roll, and the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, through their work. It was, according to Tracey, a show both he and co-founder Arthur Brouthers have been envisioning since starting Culture Initiative two years ago.

It’s clear that some of the artists took the theme to heart much more literally, such as John Kurc’s expertly shot black-and-white photographs of famous musicians like Flea, Dave Navarro and Damon Albarn. Others were more interested in simply creating works with an irreverent or messy feel.


The best of these were Jake Thorsell and Kevin Markie’s three pieces, featuring pentagons, upside down crosses, women in lingerie and, for good measure, colorful birds. Each one looks fit for an album cover. The most perplexing were printmaker John Pundt’s contributions. I’m still trying to figure out what cupcakes, the Boy Scouts and Mickey Mouse have to do with rock 'n' roll, although it’s entirely possible they’re meant to be enjoyed ironically.

Matt Hooker’s ode to heroin-addicted musicians stands as the most notable use of the space as more than just a white walled, run of the mill gallery. It was also one of the more creative interpretations of the show’s theme.

Two white horses — “horse” being a slang term for heroin — are outlined in black, creating an appropriate juxtaposition for such a seductive yet deadly substance. The horses, which are made of wood and affixed to the wall, are surrounded by small portraits of artists like Ray Charles, John Frusciante, and Keith Richards. Each one is framed by bent spoons.

Paper, Rock, Scissors, like most group shows, is a mixed bag. Thankfully, it’s not simply a collection of paintings of rock stars, although there are a fair number of those. And while it may not be as revolutionary as it wishes, it does offer a quick and powerful shot of attention grabbing imagery.

If Paper, Rock, Scissors had to be placed in a musical context, one wouldn’t call it a rock opera. But it’s probably fair to say it’s a damn good single.

Paper, Rock, Scissors is on display at the Baku Gallery, which is connected to Fu’s Custom Tattoo, through June 28th.

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