Thunder-Sky, Inc. 2020: Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye

| Events, Final Season

Raymond Thunder-Sky, Keith Banner, Bill Ross, and Antonio Adams, circa 2002

Almost 20 years ago, when we were all getting to know each other, Raymond Thunder-Sky, Bill Ross, Antonio Adams, and I (along with a few other folks) took a fieldtrip to Anaheim, California, for a disability conference where we set up a table featuring artworks by Raymond and Antonio.  The conference was right across the street from Disneyland, and Raymond spent most of his time there, while the rest of us sat at our art booth, doing what you do at conferences.  Raymond didn’t like the whole scene obviously, and we would get reports from his support person who came with us that he was having a high old time riding rides, eating Disneyland treats, just basically being himself. 

This trip really is mythic to me because it was the first time all of us hung out together, and also the first time we all felt connected to something outside of Ohio, outside of our usual haunts and selves.  Even though we didn’t know it at the time, this trip was about a solidarity we were forming, a mutual momentum we were creating that would eventually yield a lot of great stuff in the future, including Visionaries + Voices and Thunder-Sky, Inc. 

Almost 20 years later, after a lot of other adventures and exhibits and antics and joys, it’s time for us, as the Mouseketeers used to intone, to say goodbye.  2020 is going to be Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s last season as an art gallery.  We’ve accomplished our mission for the most part.  We’ve hosted over 100 exhibits in our space and curated exhibits at 50 other places (including in Denmark) in the last 10 years.  We’ve archived all of the drawings (over 2200 of them) Raymond left behind on a website everyone can access (www.raymondthundersky.org), co-produced a feature-length documentary about Raymond’s life, and in 2016 coordinated the unveiling of a permanent sculpture memorializing Raymond in Covington, KY, created by Tom Tsuchiya. 

Our work is done in many ways, and we’re ready to pursue other endeavors, always keeping Raymond in our minds and hearts of course, and also maintaining his archive and his memory online and in any other way that pops up.

This last exhibition season, like the other 10, features a wide, wild variety of artists and ideas, all coordinated in service to sustaining Raymond’s memory and his unique aesthetic and presence.  We want to thank every artist, curator, and everybody else who has ever helped us maintain the integrity and sweetness of this space.  Season 11 is in tribute to all of you.

Back in 2001, we also tried to track down Raymond’s birthplace in Hollywood while we were in the vicinity.  We rented a van and went on a search, watching Raymond’s face to see if any of the hilly neighborhoods rang a bell.  Unfortunately, it didn’t yield any results.  The effort was worth it though, just to pursue a common quest, trying really hard to track down the past, but mainly just enjoying each other’s company, the atmosphere.  We hope that’s what everyone will think about Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s legacy.  It was an effort that was worth the energy and time just because we were all in it together.

Keith Banner, Thunder-Sky, Inc.

LEAP YEAR CAKE FARM:  Sharon Butler, Bill Ross, Jeremy Johnson, Jan Nickum, Katherine Michael, Jim Damico, John Ross, Jessica Wolf, Sara Caswell-Pearce, Kenton Brett, Emily Brandehoff, and Laurel Tope.  Mass media works by a cavalcade of artists celebrating leap-year birthdays, with “cake” at the center.  Opening reception January 11, 2020 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes February 29, 2020.

EMINENT DOMAIN:  Reed Ghazala, Jason V Mann, Patrizio Martinelli.  Collages, assemblages, and photographs all focused on the meaning of private property and public imagination.  Opening reception March 14, 2020 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes April 30, 2020.

SIGN/SYMBOL:  LOOKING AT THE WORLD VIA HIGHWAY 127:  Robert McFate, along with Sayla Johnson, Lauren Allen, Clifford Land, Brian Pollard, Angie McFate, and David Earl Johnson, alongside “Trust me” a show by Anna D’oh in our basement space, Under-Sky.  Artist and litter activist Robert McFate walks the streets of Cincinnati with a magnet on a string collecting fragments of metal and using the bits to create art; this exhibit is dream that he’s been having for over 10 years and pulls together a wild and wonderful assortment of artists to make it come true.  Opening reception May 9, 2020.  Show closes July 4, 2020.  

BACKBRAIN:  David Roper and Bill Ross.  Paintings and scribbles by two artists whose practices and products intermingle on the mental back-porch.  Opening reception July 11, 2020 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes August 31, 2020.  

LEFT BRAIN, RIGHT BRAIN:  Original paintings, drawings, photographs, and multiples, created by imaginative regional  artists, curated by Tom Strohmaier. All proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in search of a cure.  Opening reception September 12, 2020 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes October 17, 2020.   

VIOLET % GENEROUS:  Antonio Adams, Tony Dotson, and Pam Kravetz.  Adams completes a cycle of works and shows from his experience as the Artist-in-Residence of Thunder-Sky, Inc. for 11 years.  This one is a culmination of a lot of thought, work, and hope.  With help from some very talented friends.  Opening reception October 30, 2020 6 – 10 pm.  Show (and gallery) closes December 12, 2020.

A Decade of Thunder-Sky, Inc.

| Events

Carl Truman and Steve Kemple are hosting our Halloween basement gig 10/27/19…

Celebrating our 10th anniversary at Thunder-Sky, Inc. with some great stuff:


10/26/19 6 – 10 pm THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (upstairs) featuring Dale Johnson, Carla Knopp, Brigham Martin, Zach Schwab, and Brant Withers. SHELTER IN PLACE 3 (downstairs), Holly Prochaska’s artsy fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.

10/27/19 4 – 8 pm GROWN AND SPOOKY HALLOWEEN with Carl Truman and Steve Kemple featuring ghost stories and pumpkin carving.

11/2/19 7 – 9 pm MUSIC with Nonconnah, Droneroom, and Sarah Dactyl…

“The Last Picture Show” Debuts 10/26/19 at Thunder-Sky, Inc.

| Events

Thunder-Sky, Inc. (4573 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati) presents, “The Last Picture Show: Dale Johnson, Carla Knopp, Brigham Martin, Zach Schwab, and Brant Withers,” opening October 26, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm. Show closes December 13, 2019. “The Last Picture Show” features multiple works by a variety of artists who delve in appropriating and reconfiguring photographic works through collage, technology, and other means. Each of the selected artists find new ways to distort what some call “reality” and others call “dream” or “nightmare.” (Image: still from “Morning on Earth” by Carla Knopp.)

“Call and Response” Opens June 15, 2019 at Thunder-Sky, Inc.

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CALL AND RESPONSE: Antonio Adams and John D. Ross. Opening June 15, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm. Show closes July 31, 2019.  Ross is an artist living in Indianapolis; Adams is the Thunder-Sky, Inc. Artist in Residence. They met each other recently, and now are creating works in response to each other’s oeuvre. Ross is a master of many media,  but the works in this show are sculptures created from blocks of wood with a chainsaw.  Adams, another master of multi-media, is responding to Ross’s work through drawings and paintings.  The resulting exhibit will focus on how aesthetics thrive in response to someone else’s impulses and inspirations.

Work by John Ross
Antonio Adams working on his response

Join us for a celebration of these 2 artists June 15, 2019.  More info for Ross: www.johnrossart.com.  Check out Adams’ work on Instagram, Facebook, and:  http://raymondthundersky.org/2012/08/.

“Murder in a Small Town” + “Golden Girls” = April 2019

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Thunder-Sky, Inc. presents “Murder in a Small Town: John Auer, Emily Brandehoff, Megan Christ, Sarah Lalley, Christian Schmit, and Evan Verrilli,” opening April 6, 2019, reception 6- 10 pm. Show closes June 1, 2019.

The inspiration for this exhibition is drawn from the life and career of Frances Glessner Lee, who was the first female police captain in the United States and known for her painstaking construction of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a series of 20 dioramas depicting actual crime scenes. In response to Lee’s efforts, we’ve selected 6 artists to create work that either depicts a “scene of a crime” or alludes to a crime scene.  The works include a variety of media, intentions, and inventions.  Each artist has his/her own take on how visualizing and conceptualizing “true crime” creates whole other avenues of though and dream.

Also, during the opening of the show a couple doors down, we will be sponsoring a live script-reading of The Golden Girls, to accompany a show in the basement and at The Comet of works by a plethora of artists from across the nation inspired by and memorializing the classic sitcom.  The reading happens 6 – 8 pm at The Comet 4579 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati 45223.

“Charlottesville” in Reverse

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“Charlottesville: Works by Thomas Condon and Charlotte McGraw” opens Saturday 2/23/19 at Thunder-Sky, Inc. with a reception 6 – 10 pm.

The title comes from Charlotte McGraw’s painstaking collaged/painted/drawn works that detail a “Charlottesville” that isn’t about the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally that ended in bloodshed and division. In fact, Charlotte’s revision of that whole milieu is the point. Not an erasure but a collection of works that try to get at politics and decency without reverting to division, to stereotypes, to platitudes.

Thomas’ work as well has a mysterious and poetic ambiance, sculptures and other media put to use in a variety of cryptic yet somehow specific-because-they-are-cryptic ways. Like Charlotte, Thomas finds lyricism in the wasteland of politics and rants. Both artists create universes that transcend commonalities while embracing reality.

This is “Charlotteville” in reverse, created by 2 artists with almost nothing and yet everything in common. The essence of a “Thunder-Sky” show.

Hang out with Saturday and see…

Thomas Condon
Charlotte McGraw

“Charlottesville” Parade

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Charlotte McGraw
Thomas Condon

We are so happy to present “Charlottesville: Thomas Condon and Charlotte McGraw,” opening February 23, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm. Show closes March 30, 2019.

Charlotte McGraw is an artist from Columbus, Ohio who has developed a vision and style all her own; Thomas Condon lives and works here in Cincinnati, focusing on the connection between meaning and perception.  Both their approaches and visions help to create an alternate universe where kindness, mischief and imagination rule.  Repurposing and collaging a variety of materials and ideas, they find satisfaction and salvation in reconfiguring the world around them into totems and images that symbolize ideas between shown than told.

Join us for a celebration of these 2 incredible artists, February 23, 2019.

“Art School” Opens January 5, 2019

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Thunder-Sky, Inc. (4573 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati) presents  “Art School with Clint Bassinger, Curtis Davis, Malik Harris, Arvind Sundar, and Ethan Waldeck.” The show opens January 5, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm, and closes February 15, 2019.   

“Art School” Explained

“Art School” is often not about “art” and not about “school,” but about the ways people who are artists find their way to making what they need to make, either via teaching themselves, each other, or learning through some kind of institution.  However they discover who they are and what they are supposed to make, this process seems to be about finding ways to convey what’s always been inside their brains and souls in the first place, externalizing and visualizing identity, ideas, obsessions.  These 5 artists are completely disparate in age and other differences (including educational access), and even though they work through a wide variety or styles and approaches, their art and practices share a sense of both playfulness and seriousness, stylishness and succinctness.   

These Are the Artists in “Art School”  

Clint Basinger

Clint Basinger is an artist from Owensboro, KY.  Now living in Covington, where he co-runs the Pique Art Gallery, with Lindsey Whittle, Annie Brown, and Noel Maghathe.  Clint was an art major at Murray State University.  After college, while living on the family farm, he taught himself to write and draw comic books.  He has created over 30 comic books, under his company Cosmic Moustache Comics.  In Clint’s recent work, he’s taking old family photos, and adding to their story.  The old Polaroids of family stories and legends are given new energy and new life.

Curtis Davis

“Everything.  I want them to see everything.” –Curtis Davis

The unifying forces in Curtis Davis’ work are immediacy and joy.  He produces art daily at Visionaries and Voices studios daily committed to a painting process and routine.  His impulse to make art results in an abundance of new paintings and drawings produced daily.  In the case of drawings, they are made quickly, intuitively, and with recurring symbols.  Paintings typically take no more than two days to complete.  Sculptures are covered in a layer of fresh paint everyday but continue to be re-worked for months or years.  New objects are added and then paint applied on top.  Over time, the objects lose their meaning in the layers of paint and become echoes, replaced by the sheer physicality and weight of paint.  When asked at what time he considers a sculpture finished he always replies “when it’s done.”  His personal simplicities on life combined with his use of everyday materials create a wonderfully poignant body of work that is always growing.

Malik Harris

Malik Harris, 16 years old, is a Cincinnati Public high school Junior at Hughes High School’s Zoo Academy.  He is the youngest son of mother Kelly Isham, grandson of Theresa Mosley, with older brothers Andre, Zion, and Ron.  An accomplished musician, Malik has been active for a number of years with the Music Resource Center-Cincinnati.  He a member of both the Hughes High School Drum Line and the Cincinnati Stars Drum Line.  Malik is first and foremost an artist, an interest he has been pursuing since he was a very young child.

Arvind Sundar

The leisurely act of floating in the pool turned into an unconscious study of color and form. Confronted with a gridded ceiling of lights, the repetitive architectural structure was initially the point of attention but quickly moved to the afterimage that lingered behind closed eyes. This optic reaction became the focal point of curiosity, exploring the uncertain space of sight when one continues to see when the eyes are closed. Disparate gradients of color are sourced from memory and tied to specific moments in time and space, from a makeup palette to a dinner date’s dress. The paintings depict a reoccurring motif of imperfect modular units overlaid on a textured field of thickly applied paint. The images that linger when the field of vision have supposedly come to an end are formless and temporally obscure, which recall properties of painterly abstraction. -Sso-Rha Kang  More information:  www.arvindsundar.com

Ethan Waldeck

Balloons have an inclination to bring about positive associations; relating to celebratory times, memories of innocence, and the idea of total freedom. There may be negative undertones arising from the presence of these objects, they are fragile, and their ultimate emptiness can result in emotions that revolve around loss and apathy. They are ephemeral objects that are constant but also unpredictable. Depending on another for their creation but in due time choosing their own demise, whether that be the ending of their created purpose, their own sudden decision of departure, or simply by having time take its toll. The human life-cycle is similar. The balloons are contradictory objects, double-archetypes. They take up space but are ultimately empty, they symbolize freedom but still eventually relinquish life, bringing us joy when present but heartache when they escape our grasp. 

My work re configures an object that is defenseless and frail, changing it into something with permanence and fortitude. Relating to experiences where one was emotionally damaged, and in-turn built walls or defense mechanisms to protect oneself from further harm. This was achieved by translating the objects form, a balloon, into a new material, bronze or plaster, and replacing volume with mass –  through the various steps of pouring, mold making, wax work, casting, tig welding, finishing, and polishing. These processes are used in my work to explore questions regarding time, development, vigor, impermanency, and vulnerability. For instance, taking a balloon and casting it out of bronze transforms the object that is temporary and makes it permanent. Also, the extensive process involved starts with an initial form that becomes completely lost but then undergoes its own evolution from its emergence to completion. Inherently, balloons are fragile temporary objects that exist in space only when one has the intention for them to do so. When doing this it creates a connection between the balloon and the person or thing that brought it to life. The action of blowing up a balloon, or any inflatable, I see as a process of growth, release, rebirth, and transference. Starting with breathing in which gives life then exhaling to discharge what brings us life and pass it onto something else. Humans relate to inflatables; breathing in to prime oneself, giving life, optimism, and posterity. Then exhaling, which symbolizes a release of life, coming of death. This simple performance creates a connection by relinquishing a past part of yourself and instilling it into something else that one can physically touch, see, and manipulate in space. Without the balloon as a vessel this piece of us becomes lost and completely irrelevant. By casting these objects in bronze or plaster, I am trying to monumentalize a previously temporary object that will outlive time and carry on the connection that I personally had with it.

smallville: thunder-sky, inc. 2019

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We opened our doors the first time October 2009.  This being our 10th season, we wanted to focus in on what we do and have done best.  Always going small.  That scale suits our main endeavor:  keeping Raymond Thunder-Sky in the mix as much as possible.  While his mission in life was developing his own artistic practice and living his life to pursue that unending goal, he did so in a very humble manner, without a lot of words or pomp.  He was marginal in the most magnificent way.  That’s what we strive for – the margin, on our own terms.  The shows we’ve pulled together for our 10th anniversary season exemplify beautiful stubbornness, a willingness to pursue ideas and aesthetics to wherever they need to go. “Smallville” is where Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, grew up. In many ways, Cincinnati was and continues to be Raymond’s Smallville. He spent many years here as an alter ego, a construction-worker by day, a dreamy-eyed clown by night secretly compiling a dossier of visions and drawings that show a Metropolis being demolished, paving the way for the ultimate Fortress of Solitude.

ART SCHOOL: Clint Bassinger, Curtis Davis, Malik Harris, Arvind Sundararajan, and Ethan Waldeck.  Opening January 5, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes February 15, 2019.  Artists in high school, art school, and participating in the school of life shown side by side, with an emphasis on how practice makes perfect.

CHARLOTTESVILLE:  Thomas Condon and Charlotte McGraw.  Opening February 23, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes March 30, 2019. McGraw is an artist from Columbus, Ohio who has developed a vision and style all her own; Condon lives and works here in Cincinnati, focusing on the connection between meaning and perception.  Both their works and visions help to create an alternate universe where kindness and mischief rule. 

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN:  John Auer, Emily Brandehoff, Megan Christ, Sarah Lalley, Christian Schmit, and Evan Verrilli. Opening April 6, 2019, reception 6- 10 pm.  Show closes June 1, 2019.  The inspiration for this exhibition is drawn from the life and career of Frances Glessner Lee, who was the first female police captain in the United States and known for her painstaking construction of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a series of 20 dioramas depicting actual crime scenes.  In response to Lee’s efforts, we’ve selected 6 artists to create work that either depicts a “scene of a crime” or alludes to a crime scene.   

CALL AND RESPONSE:  Antonio Adams and John D. Ross.  Opening June 8, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes July 31, 2019.  Ross is an artist living in Indianapolis; Adams is the Thunder-Sky, Inc. Artist in Residence.  They met each other recently, and now are creating works in response to each other’s oeuvre.  The resulting exhibit will focus on how aesthetics thrive in response to someone else’s impulses and inspirations.

FRONKENSTEIN:  A Retrospective of the Works of Robert Fronk.  Opening August 10, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes October 4, 2019.  Fronk has had an extensive career in a variety of media and venues.  He currently lives and works in the Camp Washington area, and the exhibit will survey current works.

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW:  Dale Johnson, Carla Knopp, Brigham Martin, Zach Schwab, and Brant Withers.  Opening October 12, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes December 13, 2019.  Works by a variety of artists who delve in appropriating and reconfiguring photographic works through collage, technology, and other means, each artist finding new ways to distort what some call “reality” and others call “dream” or “nightmare.”

 

“Jim Bowsher and the Temple of Tolerance” Is a “Breakthrough”

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Here’s a link to read the review of our current exhibit “Jim Bowsher and the Temple of Tolerance” by Steve Rosen in CITYBEAT…

https://www.citybeat.com/arts-culture/visual-arts/article/21012677/thundersky-incs-breakthrough-jim-bowsher-and-the-temple-of-tolerance-exhibits-odd-historical-ephemera-and-a-glimpse-into-bowshers-expansive-land-art

A quote:

The exhibition now at Northside’s Thunder-Sky, Inc. gallery through Aug. 3 is different from shows I’ve seen there recently. Indeed, it’s different from what I’ve usually seen here at our smaller, nonprofit alternative galleries — I think it’s a breakthrough.

Contact

4573 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45223
Hours: Saturday/Sunday 1 to 4 pm, or by appointment.

(513) 426-0477 | info@raymondthundersky.org

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