What can be ridiculously sophisticated, cleverly absurd and excessively garish? The Somewhat Incredible Campy Kitschy Show that opened this week at the 2nd Floor Gallery at Grayson College fits that bill.
Many of the Campy Kitschy art pieces started with 2-D or 3-D finds in thrift-stores, someone’s closet or barn. It might be Michael Angelo’s statue of David in an 1880s bathing suit. It could be a European cityscape with the Pillsbury Doughboy on top of a building. All have been created by local artists with keen imaginations.
Steve O. Black, fine arts chair at the college, has hosted numerous shows with the theme of recyclable art. This year, he asked the artists to “give their work a twist by adding a touch of nostalgia: an element of retro from the 1950s, ’60s or ’70s; whimsical; humorous; lowbrow; or tongue in cheek imagery.”
In describing the show, Black said, “The show is meant to be fun and a little edgy, not your common gallery show. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I believe that there will be something for everyone in the show.”
Donna “Finch” Adams has three pieces in the show including one which is an all blue statue of Venus de Milo. Because Venus is limbless, Adams has added a real tree branch to “give her limbs.” Venus is entirely blue and covered in glitter. The International Blue or Klein Blue comes from an artist, Yves Klein, who used to drag female models through blue paint or cover them with blue paint to stamp bodily impressions on canvas. Adams named the artwork, “Klein Does Venus.”
“Artists often think that great art has to be timeless and tragic,” Adams said. “This show proves that artists can make fun of themselves, other artists and institutions.”
The favorite media for Arlene Cason are found objects and ceramics. In the Campy Kitschy Show, Cason combines them to create the Madonna Child. The ceramic face is mounted on a found buffer pad with wood backing. The ceramic face is surrounded with pearl hatpins and the eyes are lightly touched with gold leaf.
“It is easy to participate in this show since I have a barn full of found objects to pick from,” Cason said.
The Campy Kitschy show is free and open to the public and will run from now through March 3. A reception for the artists will be from 6 until 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. For more information on the show contact Steve O Black at email@example.com or 903-463-8662.