The impact of seeing this many square paintings at once, all by different artists, and hung in tight rows to cover the walls of the Arts Fund Gallery almost to the ceiling, ought to be overwhelming. Yet somehow the cumulative effect verges on hypnotic, and the sensory overload comes off as curiously soothing. What kind of magic allows this much art the freedom to breathe in such a small space? While it would be fun to report that there’s something supernatural or even just secret going on, the fact is that what makes this shapely, undulating exhibition work so well hides in plain sight. The subtle principle guiding the composition of these big grids of images is curator Nancy Gifford’s decision to group them without regard to subject or style but rather by shifts in dominant color. A wall of mostly black-and-white pictures thus gradually gives way to ones with more greens and then blues, until the purples turn red, and so on — you get the idea. It’s a subliminal rainbow.
The occasion for this really big show of small square works is Feast Your Eyes!, a night of dancing (to Soul Biscuit and DJ Zac Pike), dining (via various food trucks), and celebration (the honoree is artist and teacher Tony Askew), all of which benefit the Arts Fund. The paintings on the wall are priced very reasonably at just $300 each, and the proceeds support the Fund’s ongoing operations in the Funk Zone, which include not only the excellent programming of the gallery space, which has become not only a real hub for talented mid-career artists in the area but also a very popular teen mentorship series, and lots more. Arts Fund executive director Brad Nack promises a night of everything great that’s local, with Funk Zone “wineries and breweries on hand” at this event for which “beverages are complimentary.”
But the excitement among collectors will be all about the art. In a variation on what Art From Scrap used to do with their popular One Night Stand event, the investment of $300 could yield something worth a whole lot more, as many of the artists are well-known and could charge as much as 10 times that amount for a piece of this size. Unlike One Night Stand, however, Feast Your Eyes! dispenses with the anonymity and lets potential purchasers know exactly who is responsible for each of the art works. In another departure from the established formula for such benefits, all the work will stay on the walls for three weeks after Friday night’s soiree. But don’t worry, because the immediate gratification of owning one of these little masterpieces isn’t just about getting it home. There will be a party going on, and snapping up something great will give you an excuse to visit the gallery at least one more time before the next exhibit — Nack’s famous 100% Reindeer Art Show, which kicks off December 5.
Feast Your Eyes! runs 6-9 p.m. on Friday, November 7. Tickets are $45, with a special $95 VIP option that will get you in at 5 p.m. and will include free valet parking. The show continues during regular gallery hours through November 29. Visit artsfundsb.org for tickets and info.