Drink Up and Be Somebody
Lump Gallery—Immediately inside Lump Gallery's entrance this month hangs a 4-foot-by-8-foot canvas banner depicting a trio of provocatively posed dancing girls clad in fishnet stockings and festooned with Vegas-style plumed headdresses. Two things, though: The dancers have empty drinking glasses in their outstretched hands poked toward you as if in search of a refill; and all three figures also have just skulls for heads. This banner is actually one of the tamer pieces in a show that is thematically concerned with the "execrative evocation of American profligacy."
In other words, there's some seriously hard partying going on here.
The raucous decadence is used as an "in" to explore our contemporary condition, seemingly one more suited to the pre-recession days. The figures throughout (including businessmen, barflies, bikers and good ol' boys) are living for the moment—hanging out, pounding down beers, smoking, toking, groping and leering—and generally having the time of their lives. The debauchery is pushed pretty far. If you're sensitive to say, images of projectile vomiting, I'd be particularly wary.
The pieces are, however, a tour de force of printmaking—exemplified in particular by two canvas works approximately 12 feet by 8 feet that dominate the gallery's north wall. These two works, fittingly titled "Party," are, in fact, collages made up of several printed canvas fragments carefully trimmed and meticulously pieced together into a mural-size whole. Backing up the dancing girls print are three additional hanging canvas banners, all of which have been printed directly from 4 feet by 8 feet sheets of plywood used as giant woodcut blocks.
The show also includes a sizable selection of collaborative prints produced with other artists and several past playbill exhibition announcements. These are well worth perusing as they give insight into not only the expressive range possible with woodcuts and screen prints but also the stylistic influences embraced by the Cannonball artists. The show, which closes today, is open from noon-5 p.m. Visit www.lumpgallery.com for more information. —Dave Delcambre
The Merch Holiday Party
Local 506—Carrboro company The Merch makes smart T-shirts that use an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture as a design principle. Its art mirrors everything from punk to tourist swag to horror flicks, with the local hoops idol thrown in (remember, Jackie Manuel still has a posse). Every holiday season, they also throw a party that's sort of like sitting on Santa's lap as a kid: It's warm, inviting and you get stuff. DJ Tim Ross will spin records this year, pushing buttons on classics stuck in the subconscious that pull to the dance floor. In the wings, the Merch's elves will have, as always, some free goodies from their workshop. The free party starts at 9 p.m. —Chris Toenes