Friday, December 2, 2011

RVA in the '10s

It must be First Friday artwalk because Gull was playing outside of Lift.

After having missed last month's event because I was out of town for the weekend, I was glad to see that all was calm and bright on Broad Street tonight.

The crowds may have been slightly smaller but probably many chose the Grand Illumination over mere art.

I'm not here to judge.

Walking into ADA Gallery, I almost tripped over a former bartender I knew sitting by the front door. When I asked what he was doing, he replied laconically, "Security."

For the time being, his job was pretty easy since I was the only person in the gallery for Jenny Kendler's show, "Archipelago."

The intricate drawings necessitated a closer look for the intriguing details hidden throughout, but my favorite piece was a twig installation resembling a cave and decorated in small round mirrors and crystals.

At Ghostprint Gallery I met the artist, Yussef Agbo-Ola, and marveled at his large-format crystallized photographs mounted on steel.

For a guy who's only been doing photography for a year, his eye for composition and subject was extraordinary.

"King of Golden Souls," a life-sized photo of a man holding one hand over one eye was positively mesmerizing.

I ran into some friends and found myself in a discussion of where in the arc of "becoming" Richmond is these days.

Will people look back in twenty years and wish they were part of the scene that changed RVA from what it was to what it could be?

Is this our Paris in the '20s or NYC in the '50s period? Gamble or go, that is the question we bandied about.

Of course we didn't resolve anything, but I so enjoy talking to others who believe in what this place can be.

Next door at the new Candela Gallery, Shelby Lee Adams' photographs of the people of Appalachia, "Salt and Truth," were an unsettling glimpse into another world.

Disturbingly skinny children gazed out but so did curiously fat ones, making for a commentary on the effects of poverty.

A man sat in a chair surrounded by unbelievable amounts of stuff; in another world, a caption would have labeled him a hoarder. The curtains at his window had Bambi on them.

The new space is a superb addition to Jackson Ward, making for our first photography gallery and a dedicated space for one of my very favorite art forms.

Meanwhile, back at the artwalk, I passed a gaggle of a dozen policemen as I made my way across the street.

A cop cluster, so to speak.

Having interviewed the artists showing at Metro Space Gallery for Style Weekly, here, I was eager to see the Bruner clan's group show.

Mother Vicki grabbed me with her "Bad Habits" series featuring nuns in various states of toplessness; one had a target where a fig leaf goes. Another had a pope hat.

Son Barry's screenprints contained some famous faces like Obama, Reagan and Gorbachev, but my favorite was "Business Lunch," showing a man from the mouth down, so busy talking that he hadn't noticed he'd cut off his fingers on his lunch plate.

Daughter Jordan had an entire wall devoted to her work with the centerpiece being "Leaf Woman," a full-size female  figure with outstretched arms and jutting legs made of leaf shapes and other small pieces connected by toothpicks.

The overall effect was colorful, delicate and visually compelling. If I had a wall big enough for it (I don't) and a spare $1800 (ditto), I'd have bought it on the spot.

Gallery 5 had a lot to offer tonight including last month's show, "Disarmingly Modern," which I had missed, their Holiday Market and Lobo Marino playing live.

Ned Fry's sculptures, all of which used the Venus de Milo as a starting point, were interesting interpretations, but the one of the statue sliced and constantly shifting shape was downright mesmerizing.

It was upstairs there that a friend walked up to me and without saying a word, leaned down and sniffed my hair.

"Smells good," he pronounced, referring to my post about how awful it smelled after last night's foray to the Republic.

I was glad I had washed it so he hadn't had to make an observation about how rank it still was.

In fact, that's a perfect example of why mothers tell you always to wear clean underwear in case you end up in a car accident.

You just never know.

Walking back toward my house after all the fun was over, I saw a guy walking toward me on the next block.

"I'd know that walk anywhere!" he called out, apparently to me since not another soul was around.

When we passed each other, I looked at him and said, "Really?"

"Oh, yes," he said with the certainty of someone who had seen me walk many times before.

I have absolutely no idea who he was.

I do know that Gull played on outside of Lift.

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