Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Thinking Out Loud

"Have a Bandit Day," Avril Thurman

"The Vocabulary of Carpet," Steve Paddack
Bill installed “Any Given Day:  New Works by Steve Paddack and Avril Thurman” at Thunder-Sky, Inc. yesterday.  I went in and helped a little, brought him something to eat.  You can’t really be there with him too long when he hangs art – you just get in the way.  I helped a little with ordering the show, but the way Steve and Avril’s works just kind of fell into place was magic to behold.  (By the way, “Any Given Day: New Works by Steve Paddack and Avril Thurman,” opens with a reception 6 to 10 pm April 24, 2015. The exhibit closes June 12, 2015.)
Steve is an artist we met back in the day at 431 Gallery in Indianapolis, and his vibrant, unnerving works have a distilled, ghostly quality.  Witnessing each vignette you feel like you’ve fallen into a spaceship-museum that travels across the American landscape sucking in dream-like moments and then framing them and installing them on spaceship walls.  There’s something dangerous and ominous looming in Steve’s universe, a gigantic invisible snake maybe or brain at the bottom of a lake, but also that Surrealistic danger has a calm seductive veneer that makes you feel almost nostalgic both for danger and for the quiet right before the gloom becomes a strike.  His sense of color has a vibrant, phosphorescent heat to it, cooled by the exactitude of his rendering, the strictness of his lines.  His paintings are lush, droll exercises in luxury and also in the opposite of luxury, as if you're wasting an afternoon staring into space and then suddenly realize you've discovered Heaven.
Through a surreptitious system of codes and odd materials that blossom into visual and sometimes disturbing poetry, Avril’s language/object assemblages find strangeness in the everyday, and an everyday-ness in the strange.   They label the absurd and then somehow transform that absurdity into profundity, without losing that initial sense of contradiction.  Her chunky words and clunky materials function like doodles and tags transforming into important corporate logos for corporations ran by crazy geniuses currently setting up shop in tree-houses all over America.  She writes poems that seem to occupy that nether region between abstract and concrete, as if William Carlos Williams’s little red wheelbarrow has suddenly pushed itself into reality, and there you are stuck with it and its strange new voice. 
While Steve primarily deals with imagery and Avril with language, their works intermingle in ways you have to see to believe, and “belief” might be a key to what both they are striving for – that sense of the outside world being pulled into the interior for both inspection and worship.  They have a similar sense of dexterity; both artists know when to quit, never trying too hard.  Their works speak volumes without screaming or even whispering.  Just thinking out loud.  It truly is a pleasure to see such disparate approaches finding ways to coexist without elaboration or discourse, just being there together, all weird and alive.
A graduate of the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Steve has been a working artist for over 30 years. Thurman is a graduate of the Art Academy in Cincinnati.  We’re happy to host their visions.