Exhibition a success even with Water Damage

Gallery hosts collaborative show with Thompson & Labute

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Art example

THE MUSHROOMS ON MY PIZZA WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ORGANIC. I SWEAR. Artists Peter Thompson and Beau Labute exhibit waterlogged drawings at Community Outreach Gallery.

Water Damage, the second exhibit of London’s new Community Outreach Gallery, showcases the collaborative work of local artists Peter Thompson and Beau Labute.

Introducing new and exciting exhibits to the London art scene, curator Paul Bright strives to maintain the complex relationship between the artist, their art, and the venue.

“I usually have to know the artist ahead of time and like them and their work,” Bright says. “I don’t like showing art that I don’t understand and I’m not comfortable with. Personally, I think there’s a need for a mutual respect for each other on a non-artistic level first.”

The collection features black ink sketches intermingled with various stylized cartoon influences.

“It wasn’t even started for a show; it was just ‘let’s do some drawings,’” Thompson says. “The end result wasn’t so much in mind.”

Interestingly, Labute started the works and mailed them to Thompson, resulting in a contrasting duality between the two styles. The end product wasn’t the result of close interaction between the two artists, but rather an individual approach on both parts.

“[Labute] did his part on the works and gave them to me,” Thompson says. “It was basically like, ‘Here you go, do what you want with them.’”

Thompson built on Labute’s work with a cast of whimsical characters and random captions and phrases. Unfortunately for the artists, with the works nearly complete, Thompson found himself caught in a downpour with little means to protect the drawings.

“I couldn’t give up on them,” he adds. “They were just too far along and it was working too well.”

Although the works didn’t escape unscathed, both Labute and Thompson felt they gained a certain appeal, inspiring the title of Water Damage.

“I think Water Damage can be looked at as a successful series of drawings despite the fact that they were rained on. [Thompson and Labute] had never worked together before, and I think the product of it is some really unique pieces.”

Part of Bright’s vision for the gallery is to combine inspiring yet unknown art while simultaneously maintaining a sense of an exhibit and artwork as a continuous whole.

“With this show and the next few shows at the gallery, instead of just a random group of images from one specific artist, we’re looking at ‘bodies of work’ and how they relate to each other,” Bright says. “It works to make one statement.”

Fans of Thompson’s work, may have a chance see it again in the future, either in London or in the privacy of their home.

“I hope to have some more stuff up here,” Thompson says. “Of course, it won’t be right away. However, there’s the possibility of a book in the meantime, but we’ll see.”

Community Outreach Gallery’s next exhibit features artist Amy Lockhart, known for her “hand-crafted” animations and films.

“We’re not just going to have her animations,” Bright says. “There will be a selection playing on monitors on one side of the gallery, then on the other side a collection of the actual physical pieces used in the films.”

Water Damage runs until March 9.

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