This past weekend, July 11th at the Shooting Gallery was “Until the Whistle Blows” with new works from Paul Chatem and Mike Maxwell. This is the second time I have seen the two artists shown at the gallery and was very excited to see the new work they came up with. I knew I would be impressed, but I had no idea how much I would have missed out had I not gone to the reception.I was able to get around 40 photos of the paintings, and even made a little video showing the way that Paul Chatem’s painting work, (Paul Chatem Video). Hit the “read more” link for the rest of the photos are well as an extended write-up.
Mike Maxwell did wall paintings to go along with the acrylic on wood pieces. I talked with him a bit about what inspires him as well as his working process. His paintings are inspired by vintage photography, he uses the images as a starting ground for the works and feels that the older methods of photography gave the photos gave something special to them. Something people can identify with, even though these photos are often over a century old. The paintings are create in the opposite fashion of what I imagined. He starts with the textures using thin washes of acrylic, and then builds up the figures from there.
One of the things I always enjoy about Paul Chatem’s shows, are how all the paintings tie into an overall theme much like a comic does. The theme of these works were the Industrial Revolution, with many of the characters also taking on more animal forms. All of the paintings had this amazing aged quality to them, the metal parts were rusted, the color palette looked weathered and the most noticeable additions was gears and cogs added to the larger works and making up the bulk of some of the smaller ones. For this set of works Paul said that he got a few books on clock making and basically learned how to put it all together while making the paintings. In the end Paul had made works that are not only exciting to look at, but are designed for interactivity. Spin the wheels on these paintings and they jump to life as seen in the video linked above. It’s such an amazing idea and I do hope that more artists push themselves to try something new like this. We are accustomed to keeping our paws off the art we see in galleries, no matter how much we may want to handle them, so it’s a very odd experience and one could see the apprehension that most patrons in the gallery had. It took them a moment to feel comfortable touching the art, but once they gave it a try you could see the excitement each person felt at being an active participant in this exhibition.