Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 5:02 p.m.
A number of years ago, local artist Jerry Misko had a revolutionary idea: Put together an exhibition of good art at affordable prices. His barometer for that pricing? An ATM, of course. Specifically, everything would cost between $20 and $500, the quantity of cash that can be withdrawn from an ATM machine. The hoped-for result was happy collectors, happy artists and an exhibit that would continuously transform as work was purchased and replaced with fresh art.
The latest incarnation of Misko’s ATM Pop Up Gallery vigilantly adheres to the program, with quality work priced to move. Particularly compelling is the eclectic mix of artists, featuring several new faces and a few pleasant surprises who’ve been low profile in recent years.
- Curated by Jerry Misko.
- Through July 31, First Friday or by appointment.
- Creative Space, 1421 Commerce St., 845-7907.
The happiest surprise: the inclusion of James Hough, aka Jim Public. Hough relocated to Texas from Las Vegas several years ago, and his strong presence in ATM is a bittersweet reminder of the Valley’s loss. His “Studies on Plexi” are just what they promise to be, thick abstract explorations of brush strokes and texture on plexiglass. Hough’s incredible acuity with color makes even the simplest of these pastel studies rewardingly complex, a painter loving paint. And God help me, I swear I saw Monet water lilies. Be sure to request a glimpse of Hough’s “Studies of Strokes,” hidden away in the back room. These completely thrilling studies on paper distill a single manic brush stroke in vibrantly stenciled color and completely steal the show.
JW Caldwell shines with “Player,” one of his signature acrylic and gunpowder paintings. Caldwell specializes in incorporating beautifully detailed fauna with anthemic music lyrics into a rock poster-like structure, cleverly venerating or lampooning the lyrics (and viewer) in the process.
And, although Sean Slattery’s tart paintings never fail to remind me of a traumatic childhood experience at the circus, his “Untitled (The Lions Won’t Fight)” series is another welcome ATM indulgence.
ATM has a rewarding roster whose efforts range from the allegorical to the pop-culturally barbed. Artists Jennifer Henry, Matthew Couper, Jessica Starkey and KD Matheson contribute, along with local designer Polly Weinstein, who delivers a collection of striking chevron bracelets inspired by New York City. And of course, there’s Misko himself, whose digital print “Burst” abstracts his signature Las Vegas neon motif to beautiful and haunting effect.
Tucked inside a small gallery at Creative Space, a facility renovated by owner and operator Hayley Hunter, ATM Pop Up marks the beginning of a potentially beautiful friendship. Happily, the artist will continue to program the space well after ATM comes down, providing another lively addition to the growing Downtown scene.