A kick-ass mix of visual work by Chico musicians
The background music last Thursday night (June 30) was much louder than normal for an art reception at the 1078 Gallery. The increased volume made for an appropriately lively atmosphere at the opening for the gallery’s new show, Scene and Heard, a group exhibit featuring works by nine Chico artists who are, in most cases, better known for their contributions to the local music scene. As it turned out, the visual art of the musicians—a rich mixture of styles, media and content—made for just as fun and fascinating a presentation as would have a concert featuring the same roster (a concert that will actually come to be Friday, July 8, at the gallery). Taken together, Scene and Heard is a satisfyingly eclectic, well-crafted playlist of art.
Looking at Donald Beaman’s untitled abstract drawings may not conjure the feeling of moody Americana that suffuses much of his music, but a sense of loosely meticulous attention to detail inhabits both art forms.
The images of Jasuka Naomi’s boldly colorful acrylic and oil paintings exude an aura of joy and playfulness. But with the colors in “Moon Cat” and “Wintu Wisdom,” outlined in and overlaying areas of black and deep blue, one also gets a hint of the soulful depth of Naomi’s songwriting and singing.
Scout, a young woman who composes multilayered “electronic R&B electro hip-hop indie-pop rap trip-hop” and sings in a clear, delicate voice, conveys a similar emotional immediacy and surety of vision for her mixed-media collages, such as “Willie,” a portrait of Willie Nelson. Equally visionary are Lisa Valentine’s watercolor portraits of fellow musicians, such as “Lisa Marie” (of local acts Bunnymilk, Skin Peaks and Hallelujah Junction), which portrays the singer meditatively cradling a bunny.
Robin Indar, tile-maker, mosaic artist extraordinaire and punk-rock bassist and singer for Severance Package, brings hard-edged humor to both her visual and musical art forms. Her craftsmanship of the “Glow in the Dark Boombox,” with its perfectly composed green, black and white subject highlighted by a single bright scarlet tile fairly leaps off the wall; and her sculpted “Spike Boots,” in the same color scheme, made for some kick-ass punk art.
Acoustic players Sean Galloway (who makes “quiet music” as Ave Grave) and Fera contributed sketchbook-ish paintings and drawings, respectively, that reflect the singer/songwriters’ introspective souls.
The sole photographer in the show is heavy metal musician Sesar Sanchez (Teeph, Cold Blue Mountain), whose 365Chico website is chronicling a full year of daily photo shoots and interviews. His thoughtful portraits are mostly of local folks, including many musicians, and the bold examples on view at 1078 are solely of the other musician-artists in the exhibit.
Robert “Mad Bob” Howard, of spacey rockers The Vesuvians and neo-goths The Empty Gate, brings a cartoonish imagination and sense of ironic humor to his creations for the show, with a series of TV-themed, welded sculptures that appear ready to walk out of the gallery. As Howard puts it in his artist’s statement for the exhibition, “The whole gig is more or less inventing a problem and then figuring out how to solve it.”