New batches of art

Experiments bubble over at two local art labs

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Scientia Truncatis, tree fabrications by Daniel Devas, at Idea Fabrication Labs (603 Orange St.). Opening reception Saturday, Oct. 26, 3-6 p.m. Shows Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Oct. 31-Nov. 28.

WE, a collaboration between Matt Barber, Dylan Tellesen, and you, at Habitat Lab (199 E. 13th St.), Saturday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m. Cost: $5 (proceeds to benefit the Museum of Northern California Art).

“When people get to paint on a wall, it changes them.”

Dylan Tellesen would know. We were inside the Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse when he made this comment, sitting across from the long wall on which he and some of his artist friends recently painted—with help from random members of the public—a giant “community mural” (with a John Bidwell-inspired head in the center) that runs the length of the main room of the downtown café. That experience of, as Tellesen put it, “allowing people to participate with me, and giving up some control,” is what he and collaborator Matt Barber are hoping to replicate at the WE exhibit they are hosting this Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m., at the Habitat Lab warehouse.

The duo (as well as a few of their friends) collaborated on a series of paintings/screenprints/ drawings/collages on which show-goers will be invited to make their own artistic contributions during the reception. The pieces are all built around images of authors—Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Miranda July, etc.—loosely tying them to the notion of “authorship” in art, and kick-starting the process of having others add their vision to what’s already been established.

“I didn’t invent painting. I didn’t invent the art show,” Tellesen continued, trying to explain how he believes that there is too much authority given to artists and galleries when it comes to making decisions about what is or isn’t art, and creating expectations on how art is to be presented. He said that art shows shouldn’t have to be “hushed,” polite events at which visitors keep a respectful distance from the neatly arranged frames on plain white walls.

“I want to break that down a bit,” Tellesen said.

The works, whomever they end up being created by, will be for sale, and half of the proceeds from the art (as well as the door money) will be donated to the Museum of Northern California Art (monCA), which is raising money to turn the Chico Veterans Memorial Hall on The Esplanade into a permanent home for its collection of 400-plus works by Northern California artists (none of which you should try to add your own artistic expression to).

Tellesen and company’s Habitat Lab show is one of two unique, participatory art experiments happening in Chico on Saturday. Earlier the same day, across town in the Idea Fabrication Labs “maker space,” Brazilian installation artist and performer Daniel Devas will be taking visitors on a “sensorial journey though physics” through his Scientia Truncatis (Latin for “Science Jungle”) exhibition.

Devas has created large-scale installations all over the world—from Burning Man to the Boom Festival in Portugal—and while in Chico he’ll be taking advantage of IFL’s cool toys (laser cutter, 3-D printer, etc.) to fabricate a series of trees using everything from magnets and bubbles to lasers and electronics. The trees are being designed and arranged in a way that will allow the audience to interact with the respective scientific concepts at play in each piece, “showing the beauty of the laws that rule our dimension,” Devas said.

You’ll have to wait until opening night to see what exactly he has in store, but if his previous works are any indication, it’s going to be a unique experience. His installations have included everything from “Água E Fogo,” featuring a clear tube filled with water that spins into a whirlpool, creating a vortex that allows flames to shoot up through the water, to the huge “Torres Dancantes” (“Dancing Towers”), a series of reflective bands strung together to make a massive ribbon-like curtain hung from bridges or rafters inside concert halls, which, when twisted, sent wave-like ripples up and down its surface that flickered to a dance beat. (Visit his Vimeo page at to see his art in action.)

The afternoon show is open to all ages, so bring the kids and get lost in the science jungle.