Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scientific Pursuit

Friday April 26 through Saturday June 8, 2013
Opening reception Friday April 26, 2013, 6 to 10 pm
“She Blinded Me with Science:  Antonio Adams and Pam Kravetz”

Antonio Adams, whose 2012 one-man show “Unrealized an Unforeseen” was a tour-de-force, joins forces with Pam Kravetz, radical and resourceful genius, to create not just an art exhibit, but a supercharged spectacle (with technical assistance by Mad Genius Matthew Waldeck, Sr.).   In the gallery’s “basement laboratory,” you’ll be invited to help us envision Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s future on a whiteboard fit for a NASA scientist.

She Blinded Me with Science: An Explanation
by Bill Ross, Thunder-Sky, Inc.

About a year ago, I was driving back to my office from lunch in my new Kia Soul. I was listening to “First Wave” on Sirius XM. I was thrilled to hear “She Blinded Me with Science” come on. Even though I had reached my office I stayed in the car to hear the song. I thought to myself:  Wow! This song would be a great jumping off point for an art show.  

I didn’t think much about it after that. However a few nights later I had this crazy dream. I dreamt Pam Kravetz dressed in a white lab coat with microphones in her face was explaining to the world her latest show at Thunder-Sky, Inc. It was called you guessed it, “She Blinded Me with Science!” In this show Pam had created a laboratory equipped with knitted/crocheted beakers, test tubes with clear yarn filled with chemicals of colored yarn. A knitted/crocheted skeleton revealing knitted organs etc. The dream was so vivid and over the top, I had to tell Pam about it.  

After a facebook explanation we met for drinks and talked about figuring it out as an actual show. After brainstorming a few more ideas, Pam and I thought her one time mentee and longtime friend Antonio Adams would be the perfect partner for the show.  

At the time Antonio was cranking out work for his big one artist show set to open in late August called, “Unrealized & Unforeseen”. We waited a while to share this idea with him so as not to throw him off track. When I finally talked to him about it, I remember the first thing he said was, “and I have some ideas for that!” It was like he was already working it out in his head. He went over to the laundry basket full of albums and pulled out the soundtrack of “Young Frankenstein” and Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon. He opened them up to reveal black and white images and said. I want to do a series of black and white paintings for the show.  

Fall of 2012 was a busy season for Antonio. Besides his epic “Unrealized & Unforeseen," Antonio was also hard at work on a Foto Focus project with Daylight photographer and friend Bob Scheadler and Mike Weber as well as a posthumous collaboration with Brian Joiner for the show ”Chocolate," both featured at Prairie Gallery and with Emily Brandehoff for the show, “Apocalypse Now!” at Semantics Gallery. Once these projects were behind him, he and Pam and I met to watch Young Frankenstein and work out the details.

 The vision at this point had evolved from the dream I had to a sort of “Young Frankenstein” steam-punk Hee-Haw-like game show. At this point I pulled in Matt Waldeck Sr., the father of Matt Waldeck of “Glory Be!” fame. Matt Sr. is a gadget/garbage picker genius.  His expertise seemed to be what was needed to help marry the genius of Pam and Antonio.

Around this time Jen Waldeck relayed when dropping her son Matt off for a Saturday afternoon of art making that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and all that she was about to go through. It was the last thing any of us wanted to hear. Jen had just been a featured in a number of pieces in Antonio’s “Unrealized & Unforeseen” world of celebrity transformations. She is known as “Sugar Girl,” as she had spoiled us all rotten all summer with the best brownies ever!

With Jen’s news, the notion of “She Blinded Me with Science” took on a whole new level of meaning for us. It caused me to think, what is this laboratory for? What is the “science” in this show leading us to? I thought of drawings Antonio showed me shortly after first meeting him back in 2000. Back then he was a quiet and shy kid just out of high school who barely spoke. His mom said to me at one point, “you need to talk to him about how he is spelling homosapien as he doesn’t believe me”. In the comic strip style drawing Antonio depicted himself being bullied in one frame and in another he is taking a swig of “homosapien Juice” from a bottle and in the next, POW!!! He is dispatching the bullies from his neighborhood. Only, as him mom pointed out the spelling was a little off. Instead of homosapien he had written homosexual. Antonio insisted, “No, no! It is homosapien juice!” It was hilarious!

With spelling corrected Antonio continued to feature homonsapien juice in many of his drawings. It was like Pop Eye’s spinach.  Over the years this motif disappeared from his work.  

I asked Antonio at one point, what if this is what he and Pam and Matt Sr. are working on in the lab? The light bulb over his head clicked on and it burned brighter than I had ever seen. He quickly got to work creating 3 different bottle formulas for “Homosapien Juice” as well as a series of paintings and drawings depicting the long and sorted history of how he Pam Kravetz and Matt Sr. became mad scientists driven to create a cure for cancer!

I guess the formula for this show would read as follows:
  • One pop song from the ‘80’s played loudly in a car in an office parking lot
  • Add one dream of Pam Kravetz in a lab coat
  • Include Art Thing and stir
  • One dose of bad news from a good friend
  • Add the talent of three mad scientists
  • Equals: Homosapien Juice!