Garage Sale Painting of Peasants with Color Bars, paint on found painting and frame; Chad Wys
For the last few weeks I have been deeply enjoying the work of fly over art, a gorgeous tumblr page that with each day brings a new contemporary artist working in that stretch of the continent between Ohio and Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota.
The site is also searchable by region, which can make some interesting interdisciplinary connections -- as we included Mark Brautigam's photography with yesterday's piece on the fiction of Jack Driscoll. Though the majority of the work on their page emerges from the larger urban areas within this region, rural work is represented; regardless, many of these midwestern cities are themselves populated by a rural diaspora, so the rural-urban binary yet again does not hold together.
Here's fly over art's mission statement:
fly over art features the work of artists who are either originally from or primarily based in the Midwestern United States.
We are always looking for new artists. If you are interested in submitting your art please send 5-7 jpeg images of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org and use “submission” as your subject. Please also include a link to your website along with your birth city/state and/or primary location. We can’t guarantee all submissions will be posted, but we do appreciate your involvement.
The image above, Garage Sale Painting of Peasants with Color Bars, takes on a new life in the context of fly over art's project. Chad Wys is an artist currently living in Normal, Illinois, and his work is striking: it's engaged in a number of aesthetic and critical ideas, but also has a sense of humor and (as can be rare in this kind of work) a sense of cultural perspective. It is always dangerous to impose ideas of place on a body of work, but, as with Daughn Gibson's music, there's a kind of clarity here, and a deeper critical turn, suggested by travel through a particular space -- that distance and horizontal sweep of Central Illinois. The artist's complication of pastoral forms seems to also comment on those qualities.
Please find below the opening paragraph to Chad Wys artist statement. The artist's tumblr page is available here, and a recent interview here:
I was born in Illinois in 1983 and I continue to live there today. Despite always having had the urge to grab a crayon or a camera, I'm something of an apprehensive artist. It has taken time for me to grow comfortable with sharing my work with others. As my voice has grown stronger, with ideas and critiques, I have found the prospect of sharing experiences through art quite advantageous. Incidentally, many of the conversations in my own work are about art itself. What does art mean to me? What purpose does it serve in my life and in the lives of other folks? What are the "boundaries" of the art experience? Are there any?