Everyday Is a Performance

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Antonio Adams

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Craig Matis

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Sky Cubacub

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Lindsey M Whittle

April 29, 2016 (reception 6 to 10 pm), Thunder-Sky, Inc. presents “Radically Visible,” featuring the works of Sky Cubacub, Lindsey M Whittle, Craig Matis, and Antonio Adams. Also on the bill, in the gallery basement, Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s Emily Brandehoff is curating “Bowie in the Basement,” featuring over 30 artists’ visions of what David Bowie meant to generations of fans and artists.  Both exhibits close June 11, 2016.

Cubacub, Whittle, Matis, and Adams are artists who use costume, performance, language, and symbol as vital ways to break down the barriers between artists and audience, and to both celebrate and invigorate the conversations and tensions around identity, appearance, and meaning.  The title and spirit of “Radically Visible” come from Cubacub, who writes, “Everyday is a performance where I bring my body as a kinetic sculpture into the consciousness of the people I interact with.  Clothing is your second skin; it changes the way you hold yourself.  I consider it armor because it has the power to give you the confidence and strength to feel comfortable in your first skin.  Society wants us as QueerCrips to be invisible, to not draw attention, and this is reflected through the clothing options that are available for people with disabilities and undergarments for trans* folks.”

The works in the show range from clothes and performances to paintings, drawings, and collages.  Performances will happen throughout the evening of the opening reception.

Artists Bios and Statements:

Antonio Adams:  Born in Cincinnati in 1981, Antonio Adams has been drawing, painting and creating since he was a little boy. Now his work is exhibited and collected nationally.  He is one of the co-founders of Visionaries & Voices, an arts organization for artists with disabilities in Cincinnati, as well as Thunder-Sky, Inc., an art gallery also in Cincinnati.  His sculptures, paintings and drawings have been featured at White Columns Gallery in New York City, The Outsider Art Fair (New York City), The Contemporary Art Center (Cincinnati), The Cincinnati Art Museum, Base Gallery, Visionaries + Voices, the Pittsburgh Folk Art Exhibit and Symposium, Middletown (Ohio) Fine Arts Center, Fitton Center for Creative Arts (Hamilton, Ohio), University of Cincinnati Gallery, Kennedy Heights Arts Center (Cincinnati), Country Club Gallery (Cincinnati and Los Angeles), and In the Gallery (Nashville, Tennessee). His art was featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Everything in London, England.  He has an upcoming exhibit at the Westin Gallery in Cincinnati in November 2015.  Antonio Adams wears an elaborate costume to every art opening he attends. Made from felt, glitter, and fabric paint. Antonio calls it his “Art Thing Kingdom Master” attire. A triangular facemask shields the bottom of his face, and on his head he wears a crown. Antonio features himself in this costume in many of his drawings and paintings as well.  He has been diligently building a visual and moral philosophy that has sustained him through a lot of stress and strife, including the untimely death of his mentor and friend, Raymond Thunder-Sky. Clown- and construction-worker-costumed when he journeyed throughout the city, Raymond was a fixture of downtown Cincinnati street-culture for over 20 years. He was an artist who gleaned inspiration both from performance and from drawing the world exactly the way he saw it.  Raymond’s drawings are done mostly in pencil and magic-marker, and depict buildings being torn down and replaced by imaginary facilities with titles like Clown Suit Factories and Card Trick Amusement Parks. Each drawing is organized straightforwardly, with imagery of construction and demolition festooned with a few lines of narration in a careful script. In one archetypal drawing, a movie theatre is gutted, with a wrecking ball suspended above the wreckage, a nearby caption reading: “Last showing at Old Valentine Theatre in Downtown Toledo Will Being Torn Down to Clearing Way for New Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus Store.”

Sky Cubacub, the creator and founder of Rebirth Garments, is a Gender Queer Person of Color who lives and works in Chicago, IL. They first took a chainmaille class from Rebeca Mojica of Blue Buddha Boutique when they were 13 years old. They were drawn to the tactility of the medium, and ended up finishing their project by the time everyone else had only completed an inch. In June 2010, Sky showed Repetitive Motions, a debut collection of eighteen garments.  They used materials such as scissors, aluminum sheet metal, wax, bicycle inner tubes, paper and their first love, chainmaille, with astonishing skill that is a result of obsessive repetitive practice. Their designs are couture in the truest sense of the word, for they create every piece by hand for specific individuals to wear in calculated combinations, an overall vision that is a “portrait” of that individual’s personality. “My interest lies in using the form of the body to hold art. My work is sculpture over fashion”, says Sky. Sky received full tuition Presidential, and Governor’s merit scholarships from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where they graduated with a BFA in May 2015. In summer of 2014, Sky started a new line of custom gender non-conforming lingerie, clothing and accessories for people on the full spectrum of gender, size and ability called Rebirth Garments (rebirthgarments.com).  Artist statement:  I have always been interested in the strength that chainmaille suggests. I have been building myself this armor or protection, not against harm exactly, but as a way to give me courage. It has given me the strength to be social. Visibility is an important factor in my personal work, which has forced me to get over my shyness. In the same way that makes me less shy, it is also is kind of a crutch. It is my way of meeting people; I never have to approach anyone, because they always approach me first. My chainmaille is a prosthetic for the communication of my inner world. My body, my identity and my prosthesis are one cohesive being.  Everyday is a performance where I bring my body as a kinetic sculpture into the consciousness of the people I interact with in passing and on a daily basis. Clothes are a representation of our culture. It is a personification of an industrialized culture where repetition is used in the service of the assembly line. In my practice, the intensive handwork makes the process the most important part and gives me inspiration. Chainmaille has been the catalyst to every other medium that I excel in; all of the mediums I enjoy are obsessive and have repetitive patterns. Through chainmaille, I have found my patience.  My work is an exploration of different repetitive movements: the opening and closing of jump rings, the up and down movement of the needle, the pulling of a squeegee, and the repeating shapes I cut. This repetitive process is used to create custom made garments, more couture than manufacture. It is perhaps a representation of a culture in transition to a post-industrialized society; one whose emphasis is not the production of goods, but concepts, innovations, knowledge, and service.  Rebirth Garments is my soft armor. My collection challenges mainstream beauty standards, sizeist/ ableist notions and the gender binary. Clothing, especially the foundation garment is the closest thing to your skin, it is your second skin; it changes the way you hold yourself. I consider it armor because it has the power to give you the confidence and strength to feel comfortable in your first skin. Society wants us as QueerCrips to be invisible, to not draw attention, and this is reflected through the clothing options that are available for people with disabilities and undergarments for trans* folks. Rebirth combats this invisibility cloak by refusing to assimilate through a dress reform movement; a politicallyforceful aesthetic style I call “Radical Visibility”. Read my manifesto at http://rebirthgarments.com/radical-visibility-zine/

Craig Matis is from Cleveland, Ohio.   “Much of my work, although not all, has pertained to social inclusion/exclusion. In the past, issues such as racism and parenting an autistic child have been addressed.  The circus, in the context of the visual arts, has often been presented as a metaphor for the human condition. The circus is a non-traditional community that has always existed outside the mainstream of society.  With the creation of “Tightrope: Walk the Line”, a wall installation that combines visual art with an original song, the most direct visual approach could have been executed by a much more literal interpretation of the song. However, I chose to come from an entirely different angle by drawing a parallel between the circus world and a group of people that society also looks upon as existing outside the mainstream: the trans* community.  Though much has changed for the trans* community in the last few years, with regard to the public’s awareness, there is still a measure of societal ignorance and discomfort about the struggles these individuals endure to become the people they believe they were always meant to be.  I am not a trans*, but speaking from the perspective of an ally, and based upon readings and interviews I conducted with trans* individuals, I have attempted to express the frustration, anger, and isolation that can often be part of living as a trans* human being through the creation of this work.”

Lindsey M Whittle received a BFA in painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2007. She taught English as a second language for 1 year in 2009, in a fashion high school in Gifu, Japan. Whittle spent 5 years from 2007-2012, teaching art to youth at Baker Hunt Cultural Art Center in Covington, KY. She continued her education studying fashion at the University of Cincinnati for 3 years from 2009-2012. She then went on to pursue a masters in fashion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2012- 2014, all while maintaining her position as the “Master Crafter” at Kiki Magazine from 2012- 2015. Whittle is presently co-running PIQUE (art space) with fellow artist Annie Brown, dabbling in costume sewing for Schenz Theatrical, freelancing, and teaching her heart out in sewing and performance art from middle school through college.  Artist statement:  Lindsey M Whittle is performance/fashion/visual artist that uses silliness as a starting off point to collaborate with others and spread good cheer. Whittle tries to set a stage for other great minds to come in and activate her work. Her work is often connected to things wearable and the body. There are almost always elements of play, change, transformation, interactivity and possibility in everything she does. She strives to enrich people’s lives on a simple daily level, therefore the setting for her work functions best in public places where people are. She has worked with bright colored versions of materials such as: fabric, wood, foam, wearable paper, make-up, Velcro, acrylic Plexiglas and more. For contact and/or more information visit www.sparklezilla.com.

“Utopia Parkway Revisited” Opens 2/26/16

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Matthew Waldeck Jr.

Matthew Waldeck Jr.

Christian Schmit

Christian Schmit

Matthew Waldeck Sr.

Matthew Waldeck Sr.

Jeff Casto

Jeff Casto

Marc Lambert

Marc Lambert

Joseph Cornell is one of those peripheral and yet totally important figures in contemporary art history who haunts and informs a lot of what is made and seen today. He passed away in 1972, and yet his influence and the scope of his ghostliness illuminate a lot of what has happened artistically and aesthetically in the 20th and now 21st Centuries. “Utopia Parkway Revisited: Contemporary Artists in Joseph Cornell’s Shadow” (opening February 26, 2016 with a reception 6 to 10 pm and closing April 9, 2016) features beautifully and incidentally Cornell-inspired works by Jeff Casto, Marc Lambert, Christian Schmit, Matthew Waldeck, and Matthew Waldeck Jr. They all make art that both mimics Cornell’s approach (collage, sculpture, assemblage, and appropriation), as well as the spirit involved in his vision, creating and recreating an aesthetic universe based in nostalgia, obsession, and pop culture. Casto’s works are the closest in spirit and materials to Cornell’s boxes, but he also has his own sense of deadpan whimsy and ache, as if he’s taken in Cornell’s need to make something out of nothing and pushed resources and dreaming to their limits. Lambert’s works featured in the show respond to Cornell’s use of everyday materials (Lambert paints on ceiling tiles), and also to his starry-eyed sense of cinema and history. Lambert meticulously recreates universes collaged from movie-scenes and folklore, juxtaposing Sasquatches with pyramids, pterodactyls with UFOs, a psychic boyhood embellished with a sense of sentimental ache and poetry. Waldeck, Jr.’s drawings have that same sense of longing for Utopian context. Executed in magic-marker on 8″ X 11″ sheets of paper, they function as a sort of illuminated manuscript informed by television, solitude, and a search for more than is there. Waldeck, Sr. creates funky, frenetic dioramas (and other contraptions) made from machine parts and other junk. They playfully reference space-travel, carnivals, and miniature civilizations, in a Cornellian flourish and flicker. Schmit’s one piece in the show is truly masterful, and acts as both a comment on, and a rapturous biographical portrait of, Cornell, constructed with a painstaking accuracy and ingenuity pretty much akin to everything Cornell accomplished.

 

In the Garden

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“I visited Raymond Thunder-Sky’s grave at Arlington Memorial Gardens the other day.  Of course, on this day the lane that leads to his grave was lined with construction cones (see below).  This made me smile.  The section of the cemetery Raymond is buried is called ‘The Garden of Restoration.’  There is something very poetic in this as most of Raymond’s creative life was spent at demolition sites, dressed as a clown, wearing a hardhat and drawing.  He focused on what was being torn down in his drawings while ‘imagineering’ what he wanted to put in it’s place with added text.  The Garden of Restoration is the title of the first show of our 7th season at Thunder-Sky, Inc. and features poetic new works by artists Adrian Cox and Tom Towhey.  The show opens Saturday January 9th with a reception from 6-10 PM.”  Bill Ross, Thunder-Sky, Inc.

 

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Tom Towhey

Tom Towhey

 

Adrian Cox

Adrian Cox

Thunder-Sky, Inc. 2016: Radical Approaches

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This will be our seventh year in existence, and the collection of exhibits we’ve pulled together represent Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s vision and mission pretty spectacularly: paintings, costumes, sculptures, installations, performances, shadow-boxes, songs… All of these artists have totally different and divergent approaches, all of them “radical” in ways you’ll need to see to believe, and all with a distinct and powerful sense of authority and ingenuity in sync with Raymond Thunder-Sky’s legacy.

 

January 9, 2016 – February 13, 2016: “The Garden of Restoration: New Works by Tom Towhey and Adrian Cox.” Two veteran, skilled painters, one from Cincinnati (Towhey) and the other from St. Louis, Missouri, create works that are disturbingly plush and whimsical but also have the depth and cunning of masterpiece daydreams. Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali can be used as reference points, but then both painters slide away from reference into their own versions of paradise and the opposite.

 

February 26, 2016 – April 9, 2016: “Utopia Parkway Revisited: Contemporary Artists in Joseph Cornell’s Shadow.” Joseph Cornell was an “outsider artist” before “outsider art” was engendered as a label. In the early 20th Century, he lived in Queens, New York with his mom and brother, and created a secret world of shadow boxes, movie-star dossiers, collages and home-movies that are seen today as remarkable works of art. Local artists Jeff Casto, Marc Lambert, Christian Schmit, Matthew Waldeck, and Matthew Waldeck Jr. make art that both mimics Cornell’s approach (collage, sculpture, assemblage, and appropriation), as well as the spirit involved in his vision, creating and recreating an aesthetic universe based in nostalgia, obsession, and pop culture.

 

April 29, 2016 – June 11, 2016: “Radically Visible.” Sky Heyn Cubacub, Lindsey Whittle, Craig Matis, and Antonio Adams. Cubacab, Whittle, Matis, and Adams are artists who use costume, performance, music, language, and symbol as vital ways to break down the barriers between artists and audience, and to both celebrate and invigorate the conversations and tensions around identity, appearance, and meaning. The works in the show range from costumes, performances, songs, paintings, drawings, and collages.

 

June 24, 2016 – August 13, 2016: “Dollar General: Installation Art by The Girls Coloring Space.” Krista Gregory, Jamie Muenzer and Kathy Brannigan comprise the artists collective The Girls Coloring Space. The premise of this show: Thunder-Sky, Inc. is awarding a $100.00 grant for materials to The Girls Coloring Space with the stipulation they must spend the 100 on materials at a local Dollar General store. That will be the only materials they can use to make art and/or to install the show outside of the white-paint and spackle and nails the gallery has on-hand. The Girls Coloring Space has the wit, ingenuity, and sense of intuitive style needed to make “Dollar General” an aesthetic and commercial success.

 

August 26, 2016 – October 8, 2016: “Well-Known Pacifically: New Works by Antonio Adams.” This will be Antonio Adams’ second one-man show at Thunder-Sky, Inc., and the third installment of a series of works that began with “Unrealized & Unforeseen” in 2012, followed by “Outcasts from Hollywood” in 2014.  In “Well-Known Pacifically,” Adams continues to explore his Technicolor notions of celebrity and reality with a sense of mischief, comic grief and funky spirituality.

 

October 28, 2016 – December 10, 2016: “Flourish: Cindy Dunham and Carla Knopp.” Two artists from Indianapolis work in different modes and scale, but find common ground in the gallery space. Dunham draws and makes intensely-colored digital prints from the drawings. Knopp, a painter and sculptor, will be featuring sculptural pieces that have the shape and form of phantom wild life.

 

Tom Towhey

Tom Towhey

Craig Matis

Craig Matis

Adrian Cox

Adrian Cox

Jeff Casto

Jeff Casto

Lost without You

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On August 28, 2015 (with an opening reception 6 to 10 pm), Thunder-Sky, Inc. presents “The Goodwill Biennial.” The show closes October 15, 2015. Ohio Valley Goodwill’s team in Cincinnati have been setting aside handmade art donated to the organization for the past year, in order to facilitate this project. Thunder-Sky, Inc. curators, as well as Matt Distel from the Carnegie (Covington, Kentucky) and Melanie Derrick from 1305 Gallery in Over the Rhine, are jurying an exhibit of these donated paintings, sculptures, drawings and other objects that have a distant connection with the present, and a distinct and dreamy sense of the past.  “The whole purpose of working with Goodwill is to treat the works we come across with respect and dignity, in order to find some kind of meaning/redemption in them that goes beyond kitsch and into another realm,” Thunder-Sky, Inc. Co-founder Keith Banner says. “Plus titling the whole project after sometimes pretentious and sometimes contentious contemporary biennial art surveys is kind of a lark – poking fun at the art-world, while also paying homage to artists who have been lost, consigned to donation bins.”  Raymond Thunder-Sky himself is another reason Thunder-Sky, Inc. is partnering with Ohio Valley Goodwill in Cincinnati. Thunder-Sky worked at Goodwill’s employment and training center for several years before he died, and often featured Goodwill in his drawings.

 

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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