Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s 2014 exhibition season includes paeans to an idiosyncratic fiction-writing genius, a local hat-wearing folk hero, and other wonderful outcasts, including Mr. Thunder-Sky himself in a season-ending installation that incorporates his desire to build a Utopia while destroying whatever got in his way. We’re using “Anomaly Lessons” as the organizing concept and title for a whole year’s worth of shows that teach us all what it means to be gorgeously abnormal.
“Head Shots: Portraits by Bob Hoke and Stacey Vallerie” opens January 10, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes February 14, 2014. Hoke, from Hannibal Missouri, creates whimsically bizarre and bizarrely whimsical portraits of people with a Paul-Klee flourish; Cincinnati-based Vallerie finds inspiration and serenity in reality. Side by side, their works seem to whisper sweet nothings to one another.
“Deep in Thought: Paintings by Mark Betcher and Scott Carney” opens February 28, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes April 11, 2014. Northern Kentucky’s Betcher layers his work with words, pictures, and word-picture hybrids; Carney looks for Utopia in his storybook paintings. Both approaches feel thoughtful without belaboring the point, both visually appealing and a little off-kilter.
“Rejoice!: A Retrospective of Avtar Gill, the Cincinnati Hat-Man” opens April 25, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes June 13, 2014. Avtar Gill, known by many downtowners as The Hat Man, passed away early 2013, but he will always be remembered (like Raymond Thunder-Sky) as a Cincinnati folk hero for the sign-emblazoned hats he wore while walking all across the city, and for his dedication to maintaining a strong, cultural voice and presence throughout his life. This exhibit will feature photographs, video, testimonials, stories, and actual hats and signs The Hat-Man left behind.
“The Meanest of Them Sparkled: Visual Artists Respond to Flannery O’Connor’s Fictional Universe” opens June 27, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes August 8, 2013. “Meanest” commemorates the 50th anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s death. A skilled, humorous, dead-on writer of short stories and novels (“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and Wiseblood chief among them), O’Connor’s prose is steeped in beautifully unsettling images and set-pieces. O’Connor was a painter and cartoonist besides being a fiction-writer, and this sensibility informs a lot of what she wrote and depicted. We’ve asked several artists to create art inspired by O’Connor’s genius, no limits on media or style. We’ll also be sponsoring a reading of some of O’Connor’s works to go along with the show.
“Outcasts from Hollywood (the Greatest Celebrity Art Show Event): Antonio Adams and Emily Brandehoff” opens August 22, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes October 10, 2014. Adams and Brandehoff often work side by side on Saturdays in the basement at Thunder-Sky, Inc. They will be creating separate suites of work that investigate/celebrate/satirize the poetry and absurdity of celebrity culture and its aftermath. “How Deep Is Your Love,” a Thunder-Sky, Inc. fundraiser happening in the basement gallery, opens as well.
“New Clownville Amusement Park: Constructing Raymond’s Perfect World by Matt Waldeck Jr. and Sr. and Marc Lambert” opens October 24, 2014 with a reception 6 to 10 pm. The show closes December 12, 2014. The Waldecks (a father and son team), along with Lambert, are taking over the gallery to create a Raymond-Thunder-Sky-inspired installation that pays homage both to his drawings and to his life. Sculpture, drawing and other media will be on display. As well, we’ll be presenting a new show of some of Raymond’s more obscure and eccentric drawings.
Thunder-Sky, Inc. Gallery is located at 4573 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45223. (513) 823-8914. Gallery hours: Fridays 6 to 8 pm, Saturdays and Sunday 1 to 4 pm, or by appointment. A complete photographic archive of all of Raymond Thunder-Sky’s works can be seen at: www.raymondthundersky.org.