The art scene in Charlottesville is suddenly looking up… or should I say it is looking overseas. Currently on exhibit at Second Street Gallery is a show of six internationally renowned artists curated by our own Warren Craghead (and co-curated by Pedro Moura) called Impera et Divide. The exhibit focuses on contemporary international comics and sequential art The six featured artists come at comics from a different angle - combining sequences of images and words to create graphic poems rather than graphic novels. Relying on destabilizing and decentering strategies, this work is rich and multivalent. The featured artists include Frederic Coche, Ae-rim Lee, Andre Lemos, Ilan Manouach, Andrei Molotiu and Fabio Zimbres. It's a divergent and beautiful show. The exhibit runs through April 25. Don't miss it.
In addition to Pedro Moura, artist Andre Lemos made the journey across the Atlantic for the opening. This is where things get interesting. It's one thing to import beautiful and important work from outside the area, but it becomes much more substantial when the artists make the trip too.
Laura and I were fortunate enough to get some quality time with both Pedro and Andre. Not only did we share the varying points of view and perspectives we each bring to the visual arts, we were all exposed to a variety of new names, styles and forms of art that we each consider excellent. One in particular we gleaned from Andre was Jan Svankmajer from (formerly) Czechoslovakia. Jan is true master of the stop motion film making. It was great to be introduced to his work by a true fan. I would never have gotten that without meeting Andre.
Now here is where things get doubly interesting… André Lemos, from Lisbon, Portugal, has been active in the European comics world since the late 80s and has become one of the most published Portuguese authors abroad. Andre is also an accomplished mural painter, participating in many group and solo exhibitions as well as receiving many commissions for the decoration of public and private spaces. While in town for the opening of the exhibit, Andre agreed to paint a mural (in one day) on the outside wall of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. We stopped by to see the artist in action. Here are some photos of the process:
So this little show of works on paper has given Charlottesville a piece of art that virtually no one living here would ever have the opportunity to see and enjoy. I can't stress the importance of looking outside our local boundaries for high quality and important works of art. Work from outside the Virginia Piedmont can look entirely different and give us something we don't usually get. Now that's what I call the spice of life.
Thanks Pedro, Andre and Warren. Charlottesville owes you one.
Image at top: by Frederic Coche