Everywhere you walk around MCQ Fine Art Advisory, you are confronted with things that should be there …. but kind of, sort of would not if it weren’t for these five artists.
You have to literally step over JW Caldwell’s popping images and well-turned wording to gain entry to the gallery: A shark painted on the driveway acts as sentry. Once inside, a Caldwell mural extends from the floor up onto the ceiling, suggesting a response to that eternal question: What if Howlin’ Wolf covered the Ramones? Erik Beehn’s photographs don’t hang on the walls, they are the walls. His tiled, segmented images create imaginary windows to imperfect memories. Working with light and scale models, a downright playful Mark Brandvik is installing a rocket ship that appears to be blasting up through the chimney. An empty artwork crate becomes a Hitchcockian diorama in the hands of Shawn Hummel. And an alcove next to the restroom becomes a seamless spot to incorporate RC Wonderly’s textured mixing of paint and particle board.
Featuring MCQ Fine Art Advisory’s art handlers, Install Art Here turns the gallery into a canvas. It also serves as a literal homecoming for owner Michele C. Quinn, as she re-installs herself in Las Vegas after two years on the East Coast.
“We wanted to think about it differently,” Quinn says of the exhibit she conceptualized. “We came up with something site-specific, not just as a representational show.” In practice, that means that each artist displays his talents in the context of a redesigned home full of nooks, crannies, a fireplace, and a yard out back. By doing so, Install Art Here captures the spirit of what seems to be going on in the community surrounding the gallery. As downtown gets reinvented, it reminds us of the endless possibilities in what has long been familiar.
“We are trying to find our relevance within the local art community,” Quinn says. “We’ve come up with a ‘think tank’ approach, where the artists use our space to conceptualize an idea, without it being commercially developed.”
All’s Well That’s Caldwell
In addition to his involvement in Install Art Here, artist JW Caldwell is enjoying an exhibit of his own at nearby Trifecta Gallery. The outlaw outdoorsman with the butterfly tattoos showcases his populist philosophy in Reading Between the Lines. It combines animals and text culminating in works that are both humorous and thought-provoking. Where he formerly has rebelled against the Wild West mythos, Caldwell’s current focus is directed at the animal kingdom, using various furry creatures as surrogates of human cadence and emotion, sometimes even putting words directly in their mouths. But it’s OK, you can still think that puppy is too cute while being confronted with the observation that it’s really just a Son of a Bitch.
Reading Between the Lines at Trifecta Gallery in the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., Suite 135, through Oct. 25, 366-7001, TrifectaGallery.com.