Archive for July, 2010

The Rest of 2010 at Thunder-Sky, Inc. (& Beyond)

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June 25 – September 17, 2010: “WORLD DOMINATION: Antonio Adams and Tony Dotson” The paintings of Antonio Adams and Tony Dotson have much in common, but mainly what pops out at you upon first glimpsing each of the artists’ works is a sense of high energy and an intense need to get a point across. Both use elemental materials (house and acrylic paint, wood panels, paper and pen) to sophisticated, concise ends. Also happening at the same time in Under-Sky, Inc. (the gallery underneath Thunder-Sky, Inc.): “KITTY CAT EXTRAVAGANZA: Art by Cat-Lovers, curated by Antonio Adams, Melanie Derrick, and Millicent Larson.” (Photo above of the opening reception of “World Domiantion,” June 25, 2010.)

July 30 – August 21, 2010: “PARADISE: Paintings and Collaborations (with Donald Henry and Becky Iker) by Thunder-Sky, Inc. Cofounder Bill Ross” at 1305 Gallery Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 opens with a reception July 30, 2010, 6 to 11 pm.

September 24, 2010 – October 15, 2010: “THE $50 MUSEUM, a Thunder-Sky, Inc. Fundraiser” All art and other stuff in this exhibit is priced 50 bucks or under, and all proceeds benefit keeping Thunder-Sky, Inc. alive. Come celebrate the Unconventional Spirit, buy a few things, and enjoy knowing you are part of a new wave of weird. Opens September 25, 2010 with a “mobile unit” at the First Annual Raymond Thunder-Sky Folk Art Carnival. The exhibit will return to the gallery and be on display through October, with a closing reception 6 to 10 pm October 15, 2010.
September 25 & 26, 2010: The First Annual Raymond Thunder-Sky Folk Art Carnival Taking place in the parking lot of Building Value, 4040 Spring Grove Avenue, Northside in Cincinnati, Ohio, this art fair showcases conntemporary folk, outsider, and other unconventional artists and the organizations that support them, by providing a venue to sell their works and celebrate what they do. Sponsored by and

October 29, 2010 – December 31, 2010: “Welcome to Lonely Mountain Community Center: An Installation by Bruce Burris & New Works by Aaron Oliver Wood” features work by Bruce Burris, an artist from Lexington, Kentucky whose pieces have been featured at Institute 193 (Lexington KY), Braunstein/Quay Gallery (San Francisco CA), Anton Galllery (Washington DC), Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids MI), and Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (Wilmington DE). Burris’ installation consists of a large, room-sized bulletin-board that displays scraps and ephemera both lighthearted and freighted with meanings far beyond their function. Aaron Oliver Wood lives in Cincinnati and creates beautifully detailed, straightforward but still somehow enigmatic drawings. Also happening at the same time Under-Sky, Inc.: “Fables of the Deconstruction: A Decade of Raymond Thunder-Sky Influence” surveys through photos, documents, art, and video the influence Raymond Thunder-Sky’s art and life has had culturally in Cincinnati and beyond, using as a starting point the first time Raymond showed his work publically in 2000 through his death in 2004 to the gallery and organization established in his name celebrating its first year of exhibitions and programming.

Universal Raymond

Raymond Thunder-Sky was a regionalist, meaning that he found comfort and inspiration in the world right in front of him. Since he lived in Cincinnati the longest his work is steeped in Cincinnati-scapes. Local demoltion sites, bulldozers, Cincinnati streets and skylines all provided Raymond a starting point, a foundation to investigate the mystery and meaning of destruction, reinvention, and the tranquility of knowing that what is destroyed always gets replaced.

Raymond’s themes are not regionalist, but universal. In his drawings he seeks a meaning beyond the names of streets and the shards of broken glass. In each drawing he is replacing what is being erased with something far more perfect and far more bizarre. In his search for Utopias he transcends his own sense of concrete detail and his connection to his own region. But he also seems to feel completely comfortable in that world. Stories from people who spotted him along his journey are often about seeing him on a bus or walking the streets with a tool-box, his expression stone-cold serious. He knew what he was doing.

He was searching for an image, not a place, because the place he was constantly reinventing in his mind.

Artist David Wojnarowicz wrote: “Heaven is place in your head. Hell is a place on earth.”

While Raymond was a consummate pedestrian, walking and searching his whole life, he was also cosmopolitan and clever. His drawings aren’t just documents about Cincinnati. They are about a spiritual craving. Raymond was in search of heaven. Raymond knew hell was a place on earth.

But he also had a great sense of humor, a stubborn, solid sense of aesthetics, and a patience that created prolificity.

So in the end, yes, Raymond was a regionlist, knee-deep in Cincinnati-isms, but he did not worship region. He used it to get to stranger and stranger places.

(The above paintings about Raymond are by David Mack.)


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