Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zwearickian Art at SO HOT Gallery Mind Blowing

By Andy Ashling, D Pressing News Special Reporter

(Special announcement: Wednesday September 5, the Kindle version of the book "The Girl Who Had No Enemies: and the Man Who Hated Women", by Dennis Fleming will be available for free at IN ORDER TO AVOID STEALING ALL OF THE ATTENTION away from Arty Zweary’s SURE...RICK'S LOOPED show, I attended its opening night at the SO HOT Gallery posing as an out-of-costume mime.

Zweary himself greeted me as I tried to slip in unnoticed. He was decked out head-to-toe in black. He even wore black-rimmed glasses, which prompted me to want to ask him if he wore the glasses when he shoots his videos. But a perceptive question like that could blow my cover, and tip him off that I was a reporter.

We in the press are getting fed up with all the ass kissing we must endure at these types of events. It's especially bad, when they learn I'm from one of the most unimportant news sources in the nation, the D Pressing News. Besides, Zweary was being so gracious to everyone, I didn't want to see him crawl for a five-star review. Not that he would...but don't they all?

The gallery presentation was not difficult to navigate, as some. I caught on real quick to the basic idea, which is to walk in and look at stuff.

They were offering beer and wine, and it was a pity I can't mix alcohol with the brain stabilizing medications already fighting each other in my bloodstream. A guy near the bar was rearranging pieces of candy cane in his stringy beard, like a cross-eyed monkey playing with its body lice. He caught me staring at him, and felt compelled to tell me the art on exhibit was "Zwearickian.”

How was I supposed to deal with that information? The bearded guy asked me if I could “see the face of Dali” in his whiskers. I decided to drink heavily, act as if I majored in Zwearickian art, and hope I didn't run into anyone who actually did.

On to the art!

The exhibit features what appear to be three flat, abstract paintings in which the images move! Some of it is from a foreign country, a place noted for manufacturing neckties, but I don't think it was Italy.

There is a humongous morphing rectangle titled “PANSY i AM” (more on that later) projected onto a white wall, and a couple smaller rectangles on High Def screens set upon white pedestals that you have to walk across the room to see. But, here's the thing, you think there's only one of them. You walk over to it, and when you get there a few sidesteps to the right take you to the other one.

There's a window behind the second High Def screen. I thought it was a third video screen, and watched it for about twenty minutes, until an attractive woman—she had a tattoo of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger kneeling in prayer on her left shoulder—set her beer on the window's ledge. Glad she distracted me, though. I was about to suggest that gallery management adjustment the dpi on a window! (I would have made a fool of myself.)

There are also dozens of smaller squares placed at various locations on all the walls. The images on these squares don't move, and they look a lot like they came from the abstract video stuff. I’d bet on it.

The humongous rectangle of moving images titled “PANSY i AM”, didn't make sense to me because, though many of the images where sort of flowery—some things also looked like beads—nothing about it made me think of violets. I overheard someone say a person named Norm videotaped the contents of six long-handled Siamese pans.

If you were like me, you'd be thinking “moo shu pork?” But you'd be wrong. They were cooking some Gaston-omical substance a man named Bruce assembled from glass fragments with a tong (misspelled Fong in the handout) in Vietnam (another typo in the brochure: they misspelled the country's abbreviation, Naam instead of Nam). Frankly, Zweary deserved a higher level of attention to the promotional material for his show. Spell check won't catch everything.

Zweary used Norm's images to make six different ties that he looped together, which, to my disappointment, were not on display. But I understood why. Only one patron in the crowd was wearing a tie, and it had a fish painted on it. Ties must not be fashionable now. (I mean, who wears ties anymore?--and with a fish.)

PANSY had a soundtrack that I couldn't hear clearly over the noisy crowd, but from the sound of all the glasses clanging, I'd say they recorded live at a party where they cooked the glass Bruce stirred with his tong.

Remember that first, smaller rectangle I mentioned? The one on a pedestal you walk to before you realize there's another one a few sidesteps away? It's called DEAD LINE, and it's a mind blower. The artist found a foot and reattached it to somebody. He admits it made the person “dramatically deformed,” but it still works as well as the day he found it. (You have to wonder. It had to be fresh when he found it.) But it fooled me because it didn't look anything like a foot, especially one that was still alive. I think the artist used all the blood to disguise it. It looked more like what the video title suggested it was, a DEAD LINE. Brilliant!

The square pictures on the wall next to DEAD LINE looked like shots from the operating room where the foot was re-attached. If you didn't know about the foot, you'd never guess they were medically related pictures. That sidestep to the right to get to the next video is almost automatic after a few unsettling moments with DEAD (foot) LINE.

The next piece is ambiguously named, ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS. If they had mounted it on the ceiling and you were to lie on the floor and stare up at it, you'd think an old city is falling from the sky. Hell, man, you'd say, let’s get out of here and take a shell tour! I'm sure there were logistical impediments that prevented them from presenting the work that way. In fact, I overheard Zweary say the work was being “re-presented”. So, it might have been up there at first, and maybe the monitor kept falling down.

Zweary constructed ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS from outtakes he found from the recently released Spielberg blockbuster film, SUPER 8. The video is an experiment in altering time to achieve depth, and it succeeds, perhaps even more than the artist intended. After about a minute watching this video, I felt like I was being sucker-punched by one of those boxing gloves on an extender that pops out and BAM! smacks you in the face. It was intense. But I readily admit that it was my favorite piece of art, despite the additional expense for the Ibuprofen I was eating for days later.

On the wall opposite ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS, were nine of those smaller square pictures, and they remarkably reproduced what the video looks like inside your head after a few minutes of letting those pictures punch your frontal lobe. A lot of color explosions and swirly images that recall the circle of stars around a cartoon character's head after it's been zonked with a hammer. This is no small achievement.

Again, the artist demonstrates a mastery of representing in static what he achieves dynamically in the video. Let's face it, the guy's pretty smart. It’s been days, and I’m still trying to guess what “all about shell tours” is. I could Google it, but that’d take the fun out of it. Maybe it’s a day trip to one of the nation's coasts.

I would have liked to stay at the SURE...RICK'S LOOPED show longer, but I had to begin preparing for my next therapy session, and I only had twenty hours to wash my drool bucket.

I never found out who the hell Rick is, and why it's supposed to be obvious that he's drunk. I mean, wouldn't you have to know the guy to know he always gets hammered?

But I plan to return because the show is running from 11-4 pm from Jan. 6 through Jan. 19, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and with the artist from 6-9 pm during the first week of the show.

They're also doing a special screening of more Zwearikian (there's that word again) videos Thursday night (1-12-12) at 7 pm, free and open to the public. I plan to attend, if my psychiatrist permits me.

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