As we pull together “2 + 2 = 5: Collaborations” (opening 4/29/2011 with a reception 6 to 10 pm at Thunder-Sky, Inc., I can see ghosts hovering. The King of these Ghosts, of course, is Raymond Thunder-Sky, who had a phantom-like presence even while he was still alive. David Mack, Antonio Adams, and Cedric Michael Cox have tapped into that phantom zone to create collaborations from prints of Raymond’s unfinished drawings. These drawings were “unfinished,” we surmise, because Raymond would be in the middle of drawing them outside in front of a demolition site or wherever, and he would be disturbed by people asking him what he was doing, or possibly even admiring what he was doing, and he would get spooked and pack up his makeshift easel and toolbox of art supplies and run off to another place so he could be alone with what he was doing. That feeling of Stubborn Phantom comes alive in Antonio’s, Cedric’s, and David’s renditions:
|Cedric + Raymond|
|Antonio + Raymond|
|David + Raymond|
There are other ghosts in this machine, as well. Donald Henry, Dale Jackson and Bill Ross worked together on a collaboration back in 2009, and the result is chalkboard sadness merged with a sky-written mysticism. The ghost in this piece could be Donald, who passed away in September of 2009, or it could be a robot-spirit from some other planet letting you in on a secret you should have already known. Either way, this work has an authority that haunts.
|Henry + Jackson + Ross|
Bill also has a few collaborations he did with Becky Iker, one of the sweetest and smartest people we’ve ever known. Bill and Becky have worked together on paintings for almost ten years; Becky now lives in Kentucky, so they don’t see eachother that much anymore. Their pieces in “2 + 2 = 5″ have a nostalgia and sense of history built into them, like souvenirs. But the imagery is ghostly as well, as if they knew even back when they were creating these paintings together there would be a time when they would be apart.
|“Blue,” Becky Iker and Bill Ross, 2009|
Finally, the central ghost in the machine: a three-panel epic painting by Antonio and Brian Joiner, who passed away last year. The two of them worked on this triptych in 2008 as a sort of tribute and parody of Picasso’s “Guernica.” It was shown in 2009 at Country Club Gallery. Now it’s evidence of what’s lost and what’s found. Machines need ghosts, and ghosts need machines…
|“Those Who Want War Warring Against Those Who Don’t,” Antonio Adams and Brian Joiner, 2008|
It’s going to be an incredible show…
|Becky and Bill|
|Raymond and David|
|Raymond, Paul Rowland and Antonio back in the day…|