Good? Evil? You decide

Katie Miller, “Tainted,” acrylic, 2003.

Katie Miller, “Tainted,” acrylic, 2003.

Imagine being an artist. A gallery approaches you to be in a group show. The show has a theme: good and evil. And that’s all you get; that’s the extent of the instruction.

Some artists thrive on this kind of project. Essentially, vague direction gives an artist the freedom to explore or offers plenty of room for the creative process to take over. But for others, the challenge to create art without any guidance can be more difficult. Often, an artist will ask himself or herself what people might expect to see, because artists are normal folks who don’t want to stick out in that “Oh, this artist didn’t really understand the project” kind of way.

And galleries love to be vague about setting up themes for shows; the shows typically end up being a mishmash of styles and approaches—some great and some quite awkward, but the shows are always a treat.

This month, 20th Street Art Gallery hosts just such a show, with 22 artists participating. 20th Street has a great space to put on such an event. It’s large without being too big, and it’s well-lit, open and clean—a perfect stage to exhibit what these artists can come up with. And that’s where it will be extra fascinating. Not only is this a group show with a vague theme, but also the theme itself is perfectly vague: Good and evil are opposing forces, positive vs. negative, but both concepts are hard to pin down. Evil can be as heavy as the notion of the devil, and good might be as light as, “This is a good cup of coffee.”

It’s likely the 22 artists (Diane Bell, Brenda Boles, Amanda Bouille, Francisco Castro, Charr Crail, Kelly Davidson, Davida Douglas, Gene Ebert, Jim Ferry, Karen Fulk, Kevin Haag, Dwight Head, Bob Hyman, Sean Ketchem, Bill MacSems, Elizabeth Mary, Findlay McIntosh, Katie Miller, NanZ, Mark Niemeyer, Sterling Phillips and Nicholas J. Roberts) will explore the gamut of possibilities in this theme, offering a fair amount of intrigue and interest, so the viewer can walk away trying to make sense of Good & Evil.