"Dying of Consumption" Opening Review
On view Saturday May 22 – Sunday June 13, 2010 at Gallery M Squared located in the historic Heights Theater.
On Saturday night I set out to do a little gallery hopping. It wasn’t much of a hop actually, since I went to see Sarah Whatley’s new exhibition “Dying of Consumption” at Gallery M Squared and became so consumed in the artwork and music that I never made it out to another gallery. I’m a consumer, and I was indeed consumed.
I’ve always considered myself something of a packrat, but I now realize that I’m just a gather mouse at most. Sarah’s installations of 3.5-inch plastic computer discs, giant black floppy discs (remember those?), reel-to-reel canisters, and various other nearly-impossible-to-find doodads, had me rethinking my commitment to the various collections stored in my garage.
“The Reel Thing” a large American flag stitched together from strips of colored camera film, and lit from every possible angle, hung from the rafters of the center aisle. It was the very piece on the announcement card that lured me away from home that night.
“Happy as a Pig in Mud” caught most people’s attention with its simplicity. A mud-like base with a pig-like snout, made from animal bone, protruding from the center. I took a closer look and found a tiny snail shell lounging on the surface. The gallery owners told me that it was that attention to detail that made Pig the first sale of the evening.
Four of the gallery’s movable walls showcased large metal flowers crafted with blue jean petals, hammered copper petals, and mirror-like centers. Maybe it was the influence of all of the art car enthusiasts in the crowd, but my immediate thought was that the flowers would make for a great art car for next year’s parade.
“Mask” a paper-thin burned out metal facemask with animal jaws for a mouth, was one of the most unusual pieces I’ve ever encountered. The mask perched delicately atop a halo brace worn by victims of spinal injuries. It begged the question, “Where does Sarah find this stuff?!” And once found, how does she assemble it in such a way to produce a clear message? A true artist.
It’s so refreshing to meet an artist who creates, not to appeal to the masses or to make a quick sale with something “pretty,” but who creates because they have no other option. It’s what they do. It’s who they are. And even though we weren’t privy to the process, we feel as though we tagged along for the creative ride.
The party atmosphere kicked into high gear when the musical guests for the evening took to the stage. GelTab, a man with a guitar and lots of foot pedals to create trancy, electro sounds, definitely got people’s attention. In fact, it was the impetus to clear out the crowd at the shrimp and cream puff-laden buffet table. (The food was delicious, by the way.)
The void created when GelTab stopped playing was almost sad…was the night really over? And then Sarah, aka Simply Smashing Sarah of Walking Timebombs took over. Creative force of nature and a rocker girl? Impressive!
One moment I was at yet another amazing opening at Gallery M Squared, and the next I had front row tickets at a rock concert. Jam-packed crowd, camera flashes from every corner of the room, dancing and swaying bodies, and a barefoot lead singer with a sexy throaty voice commanding our attention. What a night!
The concert is over, but the art keeps rocking until June 13 at Gallery M Squared, located in the historic Heights Theater at 339 W. 19th Street.
Gallery M Squared