Sunday, November 9, 2014

Short Stories: Tony Thompson & George White @ The Other Side, Utica NY November 7 2014

The Other Side
2011 Genesee St.
Utica NY 13501

Even after what, two years of plumbing around the Utica arts scene now The Other Side is still a new venue to me. Directed in part by artist Jan Burke (who is also now part of the board directing the Broad Street Gallery in Hamilton as well) and located in what I believe is the uptown part of Utica it is a small-works friendly space with fantastic lighting, a unique layout and plays host to any number of community functions. Including -- to my astonishment to realize that this is where she'd meant -- yoga classes by Catherine Wright. Huh. I know it more as a gallery space and this month the works on display are by my hombre Tony Thompson, on the rebound following a hearty pumpkin carving after a brain embolism. Good news is that homeboy is on the mend, lots of therapy ahead and hard work yet to come. 

But his artwork has not been neglected & has taken on a more purposeful nature. Especially this new series of works using appropriated castoff old picture frames. He didn't even bother taking the pictures out, using them as surfaces which as usual for Tony kind of makes sense in a practical way that I'd never have thought of in a million years. Proud of this guy and looking forward to working with him more as he progresses back into robust prime form. Tony's best years are ahead and I hope to be around to see what he creates next.

Yeah I know. The old handheld point/shoot has seen better days & replacement is on the priority list for when there's the cash to spare. When IS there cash to spare, however? 

Artist George White was my big discovery for this show, a Scotsman who identifies himself as a sculptor but is indeed a polymath of formidable creative powers & what's shown here is a scant portion of his contribution to the show. One of which was this mind boggling found object creation engagingly using two sides to actively involve its viewer. I also like keys and their use is prominent enough to have warranted a closer look.

The reverse side. Mel Bochner would be pleased by requiring the viewers to traverse around to see the full work.

George White, and one of his painted found stone forms exploring an interest in Celtic symbols.

Tony Thompson

George White, and about the most badass sculptural form I've had the pleasure to see in quite some time. I miss Sculpture Space!

George White

Tony Thompson

Tony Thompson

George White

Tony Thompson

George White, and a number of these sold just while I was standing there chatting so favorably. They do brisk business at The Other Side.

Tony Thompson

George White, and my favorite of his painted stone works.

George White

Tony Thompson, and yep. This one's my favorite. I love how he has completely violated the frame, not just getting paint on it but having the nerve to incorporate its form into the composition. I used to work at a framing shop and am not a fan of them, and credit Tony as one of the influences which led me to paint in a manner which defies traditional framing. Nice to see one taking a beating here.

Tony Thompson, detail of above.

Tony Thompson with artist Vincent Brown, who serves as one of the directors of The Other Side and has a vision for the arts in Utica which I hope to be part of.

Tony with musicians Kayla and Michael, I think? From the regular scene at the Dev, and my homegirl Jenna North & I have been longing to get Kayla to play one of our art shows sometime. I got a place in mind ...

oOooOooOooOo ... Oooh yeah. Finally a self-shot with Kayla, and that is a keeper

With sculptor Rainer Werner! fashionably out of focus. And whom like myself & George sensed an opportunity to practice our profession of visual artists in Utica, NY, of all places. Rainer has some interesting ideas about a Dokumenta-style fine arts festival with immense gallery shows in disused Utica commercial spaces. I got one we can start with!

Whoa ...

Adjusted! with artists Kayla Cady Vaughn, Jonathan Vaughn, and our vagabond rogue of the highway, Timothy Rand. All of us including Tony veterans of the Broad Street Gallery and Hamilton Center for the Arts, where I just had my zombie painting show last month. All four were also part of our Utica Music & Arts Fest exhibits in September and I hope to bring their artwork to both Utica and Syracuse area audiences over the next year or so. And THEN, we shall see.

The Face! with Professor Vaughn.  

Finally! a self shot with Jonathan Vaughn, an artist whose work I've been eager to show for a while. Stay tuned, and glad I'm finally catching up on these.

Oh yesh. The classic Cling To Me pose, with artist Jenn Massi, whom I've been itchin itchin itchin to work on something with!

YO. Good beyond words to see homeboy here back in the game again. Tony was one of the forces which coaxed me out of my shell in 2012, instantly recognizing him as someone I could work with. Same with Tim, Kayla, Jon, Jenn. I'm a lucky guy to have been welcomed by this scene and plan to be around for more. Plotting out shows for 2015 in both Utica and Syracuse and these folks are my posse. Expect to hear more about them.

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