Heather Powell believes in a synergistic approach to art. She sees the value of artists exhibiting together and learning from each other’s distinct styles and approaches to their craft. That’s why she’s assembled a cadre of creators for a group show at the Vertigo 232 Gallery. “Cabinet of Curiosity” spotlights 11 different artists with divergent approaches to art. Gallerygoers will have a chance to mingle with many of them at the closing reception this Friday.
“I really love the idea of cabinets of curiosity, they’re like little wonder cabinets,” Powell said. “I put the show together with these artists because I loved their work. I like what they stand for. If I was going to have an art collection, I would have their pieces in there for sure. I learn so much every time I see one of these artists work. They bring something to the table that I never thought about.”
The show itself is multi-dimensional and suitable for the large, maze-like layout of the gallery. Some corners feature paintings and drawings, while others showcase machines that have been transformed into artworks. Installations with live participants are part of the exhibit, too. Altogether, there are around 30 distinct works. In addition to Powell, the artists who are participating include: Emma Ehart, Chiyoko Myose, Bernardo Trevizo Jr., Drew Davis, Jose Alvarado, Mike Miller, Meghan Miller, Hallie Linnebur, Brittany Schaar and Hugo Zelada-Romero.
“The dynamic is schizophrenic, the range of focus swings from bizarre caricature, violent abrasive machinery, formalist painting, and winter-themed performance art,” said Zelada-Romero, who has several visually striking layered and textured works on display.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
True to the show’s name, many of the works are indeed “curious” in nature.
Mike Miller has assembled machines from found materials. One emits sound while it moves around, while another uses a lump of coal to draw on a sketch pad. Ehart constructs representations of animals that have become favorites for gallerygoers to take selfies with. Her gold-speckled giraffe stands out, and not just because of its long neck.
Schaar offers up creepy juxtapositions via surrealist portraits of people’s anxieties and fears. In one work, spiders infest a girl, crawling out of her mouth, while another features a woman becoming a beehive. Alvarado has several of his large, transfixing abstractions that mix lines, colors, and geometric shapes in whimsical dreamscapes. Myose will be exhibiting 2D works of oil on canvass and mixed media that weave in the common element of thread.
Davis has two digital prints on canvass with complementary color schemes that draw on his animation styles. They resemble synapses, nerve tissues, and cell structures. Trevizo’s works confront childhood memories and are psychologically-charged, with thick layers of paint carrying the presence of past events.
Powell herself also exhibits works, creating images of people who have been infected by parasites. They’re brightly colored, though dark in nature. Creating them is part of how she investigates what makes her uncomfortable, she said.
Linnebur and Meghan Miller’s contribution to the show is as participatory as it is artful. “Flakeover” will see a pop up “snow salon” that offers a menu of on-site services, including snow-themed spa treatments and frosty makeovers.
“I hope viewers go away inspired to draw or create their own work, whether it’s drawing, sculpture, or painting … whatever works, I want people to go create,” Powell said. “I hope this exhibit inspires them.”
If you go
Cabinet of Curiosities
What: An art show curated by Heather Powell that features works from 11 artists
Where: Vertigo 232 Gallery, 232 N. Market
When: 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Final Friday closing reception. Works on display through Dec. 30 during regular gallery hours, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
How much: Free to view. Works for sale.