Wednesday, February 2, 2022

A Ramble through the Rabbit Hole?


A Ramble through the Rabbit Hole? 

The Spiritual Death of Mother Triceratops

Allow Yourself to Become Vulnerable

Jesus Christ, They/Them

Synesthesia Memory

Frankenstein v. Wolfman


By Tom Wachunas 

   “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

― Lewis Carroll, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

“Let's build a happy little cloud that floats around the sky.” -Bob Ross  

EXHIBIT: DaveRuinsArt – work by David Sherrill. FINAL VIEWING TIME is this FRIDAY, Feb. 4, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Silo Arts, 431 Fourth St. NW, downtown Canton

   For starters, I highly recommend clicking on the following link to read Ed Balint’s excellent January 7 Repository article on David Sherrill and this, Sherrill’s first solo exhibit. I’ll wait…  

   Curiouser and curiouser. Some of the works here are what Sherrill calls his “altered art.”  Looking at these, I sensed echoes of the late Bob Ross, who often said to wannabe painters in his popular The Joy of Painting TV show, "You can do anything you want to do. This is your world."

   The world presented in Sherrill’s altered art pieces began first as “found” or, if you will, rescued scenes by other painters. Technically formulaic and aesthetically generic, they’re the kind of pictures you’d typically see at bargain-basement home décor shops, thrift stores, or yard sales. Easy-listening music for the eyes.

   But then along comes Sherrill, and pop goes the easel. Like a sassy lead guitarist in a rock band, he deftly infects these otherwise serene ballads by inserting bizarre, albeit humorous solos. Suddenly, ordinary landscapes have become sci-fi scenarios. I can almost hear Bob Ross intone, “I think a funny monster lives here.”  

   Meanwhile, Sherrill evokes another world altogether with the very raw expressionism of his mixed media paintings. These are dense with feverish brushwork, punctuated with a plethora of layered marks, piled up shapes and symbols, meandering lines, and generally rendered in 50 shades of the rainbow. Frenetic psychedelia, or graffiti from the Twilight Zone? In this world, red-eyed skulls can actually smile, dinosaurs are deities, fish have  mischievous grins, and Jesus looks like he just walked out of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting.

   If Lewis Carroll’s winking Chesire Cat were an art critic, I suspect that after seeing this show, he might say what he said to Alice: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”  And to that assessment of the world, he would surely add, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

   David Sherrill doesn’t really “ruin art” at all. He’s certainly not building pictures of happy little clouds blissfully floating in perfect skies. But hey, these are pictures of his world, however strange and crude they may seem. He nevertheless wields an imagination large and generous enough to bring some unfettered fun to our own.

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