“Nothing New” opens Friday night

If you don’t already have this reception on your First Friday trek skedge, take note. Presented by 1975 Gallery, “Nothing New: The Ruminations & Imaginings of Sarah C. Rutherford and St. Monci” will open tomorrow night, 6-9 p.m. at Booksmart Gallery (250 N. Goodman St., entrance on Anderson Alley), and will run through March 26.

Despite the title, the show will feature new, mammoth work by each artist (including a 40 foot painting by Monci) as well as collaborative works between the two. All works draw from the artists’ visual and stylistic vocabularies, each finding new ways of looking at and expressing familiar subjects. Custom frames, constructed (with the help of Felix Caruthers, who is featured in one of Rutherford’s works) of found fascinations, will grace Rutherford’s work.

Rutherford's in-prog dreamy portrait of Mary Cross (and pal), with reclaimed-object frame.

Since vague ruminations of the show settled into Rutherford’s consciousness, she’s been sharing bits and peeks of reference photos, sketches, works-in-prog, and inspirations on a virtual progress blog dedicated to this endeavor.

Last week, I stopped over to Sarah’s studio to check out her nearly-finished works, as well as many of the collab pieces with St. Monci. Rutherford’s fantastical illustration style paired with her serious portrait skills have made superhero gypsy-vagrants of her circle of muse-friends. The show “is about the people I’m painting, obviously through my lens, but I am trying to give them a power of maybe…how they’d like to see themselves,” Rutherford says, in discussing what she calls the “fantasy-aspect, edging toward superhero.” Her portrait of 1975 Gallery director Erich Lehman, for example, reveals him as a champion of the arts and patron saint of the skaters, with his gaze raised and eyes set on some soon-to-be-realized vision.

The colorful, nostalgic paintings lend a sense of urban-fairytale adventure and contain steampunk, street, and natural elements. For the collab works, Rutherford says, St. Monci would typically begin work with his ribbons and jets of spray paint, and she would play off of his colors and forms.

Collab work by Rutherford and St. Monci.

Monci’s tight, kinetic, and soaring paintwork will have room to elicit maximum awe with that giant painting he’s promised. You can preview the progress at his site or on the lovely photography blog of his eagle-eyed wife, Hannah Betts.

This show is the second presented at Booksmart by 1975 Gallery, which will hold exhibitions twice annually in the space. A small-edition exhibition catalog produced at Booksmart will accompany the show. Also, 1975’s creator, Erich Lehman, designed this rad show card.

See you there.
See you there.

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