Shawn Thornton’s Pareidolia at Cue Art Foundation

Shawn Thornton Painting
All Photos By Gail

The first time I was exposed to the minutely-detailed and unconventionally psychedelic paintings of Philadelphia-based artist Shawn Thornton, I thought I was looking at paintings of vibrantly colorful circuit boards. It’s an easy misconception to make, I suspect. Thornton’s canvases are dense with the intersecting lines of diagram-like designs and irregular grids, which often contain images of birds, animals, people, or even the artist himself. While he’s shown extensively at the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery and Stephen Romano Gallery here in NYC — and Thornton’s work was also featured in an episode of HBO’s High Maintenance (which, as an aside, is a fantastically entertaining show) — but his unique artworks have a chance to gain greater exposure in the solo exhibit, Pareidolia, which includes works produced in a variety of media between 1995 and 2017, up now at Cue Art Foundation.

Shawn Thornton Painting

Since I have previously seen and written about an exhibit by artist Tahiti Pehrson which was also called Pareidolia, I know that the exhibit’s title refers to a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists. This is a very appropriate title for Thornton’s body of work, and especially this expanded collection, which showcases not only paintings but also includes found-object sculptures and video installations.

Toy and Found Object Sculpture

There are two large assemblage sculptures in Pareidolia which remind me very much of the work of artist Matthew Dutton, whose art is always so enigmatic and captivating; like something you’d see in a fever dream. I love that Thornton can transform a combination of vintage toys, furniture and ordinary household items, like a carousel clothespin hanger, into a fantasy device that appears to have some kind of practical function or purpose.

Toy Sculpture Detail
Detail from Above Sculpture

Elephant and Giraffe Installation View

This altar-like tableau, starring a whimsical plastic Elephant and Giraffe stuffed with tiny lights, also features antlers, tree branches, bells, padlocks, vinyl LP discs, and tiny living plants.

Elephant Close Up

Really great.

Mandolin and Painting

Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness
Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness

Many of the paintings, such as this one, feature self-portraits of Thornton hidden in the midst of other images. It turns out that Thornton’s own experiences with Pareidolia, which is evident in his hallucinatory artworks, was triggered by an undiagnosed brain tumor in his pineal gland, which he lived with for over a decade.

Installation View

The above collection of small-scale paintings directly reference the artist’s experience with surgery to remove the tumor.

Green Flame Hypnosis
Green Flame Hypnosis

It is not a coincidence that these paintings resemble maps of Thornton’s psyche.

A Fracture in the Golden Mean
A Fracture in the Golden Mean

Paintings like these can take Thornton over a year to complete, and there are no accidental brush strokes.

Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics - Scarab Timetable
Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics – Scarab Timetable

Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)
Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Thornton worked on the above canvas from 2010 to 2103.

Detail from Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Take a look at the detail from just a couple of square inches of this painting! Unbelievable!

Shawm Thorntown Signage

Come and discover the world of Shawn Thornton now at Cue Art Foundation before the show closes!

Shaun Thornton’s Pareidolia will be on Exhibit Through May 24th, 2017 at Cue Art Foundation, Located at 137 West 25th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) in NYC.

Black Pyramid Meditation
Black Pyramid Meditation

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Open House By Liz Glynn in Central Park

Open House Installation View
All Photos By Gail

At the turn of the 20th century, New York City’s wealthy elite gathered in opulent private ballrooms to define their social status. In contrast, Central Park granted democratic access to public space when it was established in the 1850s as one of the nation’s first urban parks.

Open House Arches

Open House is a new commission by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn (b. 1981, Boston, MA) that highlights these historic class distinctions. It references one of the grandest Fifth Avenue interiors designed by Gilded Age architect Stanford White: the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom.

Open House Arches

Open House transforms Doris C. Freedman Plaza into an open air ballroom, where only scattered furniture and arches remain eight blocks south from the original mansion.

Open House Installation View
Check This Guy Out

Glynn’s lavish Louis XIV sofas, chairs, and footstools evoke the historic home, but with a twist —- these objects feature sculpted additions and are cast in concrete, a populist material more commonly seen in modern architecture.

Cement Chair

With this revision, the artist invites the public to enjoy a previously exclusive interior space that is now open and accessible to all. In this strange facsimile, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines?

Open House will be on Exhibit Through September 24th, 2017, at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Located at 5th Avenue and 60th Street at the Entrance to Central Park in Manhattan.

Open House Signage

Eye On Design: 13th Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest!

TP Wedding Dress Contestants 2016
2001 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contestants with Judge Mikie Russo (All Images Courtesy of Direct Contact PR)

Planning a Wedding can get pretty expensive; it is just a fact. Wedding dresses, especially, cost thousands of dollars for an outfit that (if you are very lucky) you will wear just once in your lifetime. That does not seem terribly cost effective to me. For some, saving money on weddings is more than a hobby, and barely less than an obsession. Laura Gawne and Susan Bain, the ladies who operate the popular websites Cheap Chic Weddings and T P Dress Contest have a few hints to help you save money on your wedding, and on the dress in particular. If you have a flare for design, why not consider making your dress out of Toilet Paper? Yes, I just typed that.

The 2017 edition of the annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest is now open, and Cheap Chic Weddings is thrilled to welcome their new Presenting Sponsor, Quilted Northern Toilet Paper! Since 2004, the Cheap Chic Weddings Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest has challenged creative minds from across the country to create a wearable, on-trend wedding dress and headpiece from only toilet paper, glue, tape and needle and thread.

TP Wedding Dress Winner 2016
2016 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest Winner by Van Tran

Wedding Dress Winner Detail
Detail from 2016 Winning Design By Van Tran

Quilted Northern® is excited to supply toilet paper that has been crafted with the highest attention-to-detail for over 100 years – making it luxurious enough for a wedding dress. Contestants have until June 5, 2017 to submit their paper masterpieces. The Top Ten entries will be chosen, and then online voting will be open to the public.

The top ten dresses and their designers will be flown to New York City to participate in a live fashion show finale event at a fabulous Peerspace Event Space in New York City on July 20, 2017, where the top three winners will be chosen!

At the Finale Event, the dress entries will be judged by Cheap Chic Weddings founders, a representative from Quilted Northern®, a representative from Sponsor Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and celebrity guest judges Actor, Singer, Producer and Author Jenna Ushkowitz,  as well as Mikie Russo, Celebrity Party Planner and Lifestyle Expert!

TP Wedding Dress Judge Mikie Russo
TP Wedding Dress Contest Judge, Mikie Russo

“We are always excited to see what our talented contestants dream up.” says Susan Bain, Co-Founder of Cheap Chic Weddings. “We can’t wait to see how our contestants will work with the meticulously designed Quilted Northern® Toilet Paper! “We know it will be a wonderful match!” added co-founder Laura Gawne.

The Grand Prize winner will receive $10,000, the second place winner will receive $5000 and the third place winner will receive $2500.

Here’s How to Enter:

First: Plan your design.

Second: Grab some Quilted Northern Toilet Paper (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush or Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong, or Both), tape, glue and/or needle and thread (that’s all you can use)! To help offset the cost of designing these memorable creations; Quilted Northern is providing coupons by request by emailing TPDresscontest@gmail.com.

Third: Make the dress and headpiece on your model or mannequin and take a few clear, well-lit, unaltered digital photos (front, back and side). The dress must be able to be worn by a human!

All photos and an Official Entry form are to be submitted to Cheap Chic Weddings at TPDresscontest@gmail.com by June 5, 2017 at 11:00 PM EST. There is no entry fee. The Judging Panel at Cheap Chic Weddings will judge the initial digital photo entries.

View the complete contest information at: This Link. Official contest rules along with lots of other wedding cost saving tips and information can be found at This Link. Good Luck!

Monkeys Tile Mosaic in the 5th Avenue Subway

Mosaic Tile Monkeys
All Photos By Gail

The 5th Avenue and 59th Street Subway Stop of the N, Q and R Trains lets you off just few blocks from the entrance to the Central Park Zoo, and you can enjoy a bit of urban safari even before you exit the station which features a collection of colorful tile mosaic murals of various animals that you might find in the zoo or in and around the park. Check out this family of monkeys!

Mosaic Tile Monkeys

The Imbible, an Intoxicating New Theater Experience!

Imbible Title Card
All Photos By Gail

Do you like drinking? I sure do. If you enjoy drinking and you also like going to the theater, maybe you have wished that there was a play where the actors brought cocktails right to your seat for you to enjoy during the show. That would be insane, right? What a great idea! Well, what if I told you that this is not just a beautiful, utopian dream, but that it is already happening right now? Yes, it is true, and this magical event happens at New World Stages in midtown. The show is called The Imbible: a Spirited History of Drinking, and the cherry on the cake is that it all takes place in a bar!

Imbible Signage

Imbible Table

When you arrive at the theater, head down stairs, veer off to the left, and you will be escorted to your seat in the Green Room lounge. Water and a free bowl of fresh popcorn will be brought to your table for you to snack on while you wait for the show to begin. The Imbible was created by world-renowned mixologist Anthony Caporale, who looks a little bit like actor Joe Manganello, whose photo I have just hyperlinked, for your reference.

Host Anthony Caporale

By infusing Anthony’s knowledge of the cocktail, his charming personality, and an in-depth but also hilarious look at the history of alcohol, with music and a lighthearted, vaudevillian vibe, The Imbible becomes a singularly unique, immersive theater experience that you will not want to miss. Plus: getting wasted is included in the price of the show!

Imbible Cast
Allessandra Migliaccio, Luke Schaffer and Ruthellen Cheney also Star in The Imbible

As Anthony takes you on an intoxicating and utterly fascinating historical  journey, a singing trio called The Backwaiters, made up of a Cocktail Waitress, Liquor Runner, and Bar Back, assist him with demonstrations and perform Acapella versions of familiar tunes, whose lyrics have been modified to be about drinking and alcohol. Fun! To coincide with the story about how beer was (probably) invented, after a farmer left a basket of wheat out in the rain (all stories are re-enacted by The Backwaiters), you will be served your first cocktail of the evening, which is called a Shandy, comprised of 8 ounces of Coney Island Overpass IPA and 4 ounces of Ginger Ale. Very refreshing!

Imbible Cast Chemistry

As the performers ‘distill’ alcohol’s 10,000-year global history over the course of  2 hours, Anthony pours through beverage history, the science of alcohol, and its economic and political impact on our cultural development, all while brewing beer, distilling spirits, and singing with The Backwaiters. Trust me that you will leave the Green Room educated, entertained, and buzzing with spirit!

Imbible Cast Chemists

You are going to learn all about the process of Distillation! Fascinating!

Dates of Prohibition

And you will learn all about Prohibition. Did you know that it lasted thirteen years? Oh, the humanity!

End of Prohibiton Headline

But Prohibition finally ended and it was time to enjoy another drink!

Lilac Creamsicle Old Fashioned

Your second cocktail of the evening will be some variation of an Old Fashioned, which is always made with Bourbon and Bitters with some kind of sweet flavoring, and served on the rocks. At the performance I attended, it was a Lilac Creamsicle Old Fashioned, and it was delicious!

Casks

My favorite parts of the show were when the audience got to learn something about the medical uses of alcohol through the ages, and how sometimes the medical experimentation resulted in the creation of a favorite cocktail recipe, such as the Gin and Tonic. You see, in the 1800s, daily rations of Gin and Tonic Water (which contains Quinine) were given to British soldiers to protect them against the symptoms of Malaria. They added limes to make the concoction more palatable, and the G & T (my personal favorite drink) was born!

Gin and Tonic

This Gin and Tonic, the third and final cocktail of the evening, was made with Bombay Sapphire Gin and was among the most excellent versions of this drink I have had to date!

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when we sat down in the Green Room for this show, but I can say that The Imbible exceeded my expectations and is a show I will never forget. I would recommend trying to get into the 5 PM performance on Saturday so that you can catch a decent buzz and then go talk about how much fun the show was while you enjoy a delicous dinner! For being hilarious, educational and a fantastic entertainment value, The Worley Gig gives The Imbible Five out of Five Stars!

Tickets for The Imbible Start at $79, but you can follow This Link to get $10 per Ticket Discount on Your Order! Three Craft Cocktails (and free Popcorn) are included, and all Seats are Great! Showtimes are Monday, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 PM, and Saturday at 5:00 and 8:00 PM. Run Time is  2 Hours, which includes a 15 minute intermission/ bathroom break. New World Stages is Located at 340 West 50th Street Between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown Manhattan. Visit This Link For More Information!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Sextant in Dogtown by David Salle

Sextant in Dogtown
Photo By Gail

David Salle’s paintings juxtapose images from a variety of sources to startling and often provocative effect. In  Sextant in Dogtown (1987) Salle arranges disparate elements within a grid and in a manner evoking film montage, while combing a pastiche of painterly styles and subjects. Here, the act of seeing — or not seeing– becomes a subject in itself. A half-dressed woman, lifted from the artist’s own photography, is shown from different vantage points, her face always obscured. Above her, a cartographer uses an old-fashioned measuring device known as a “sextant.” Confronted with these disjunctive images and with no evident narrative, we are ultimately left to forge connections on our own.

While Salle’s work is frequently associated with the resurgence of figurative paintings in the 1980s, it is also linked closely to that of the Pictures Generation — artists who employed appropriation to explore the relationship between image and consumption.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Video Clip of The Week: Ride, “Charm Assault”



Hey, did you know that ’90s British Alt-Rock sensation Ride has reunited with all four of the original members? This actually happened a few years ago, but I am not exactly in the loop of the hipster music nerds when it comes to ‘whats going on’ with bands from back-in-the day, so I just found out when I got the rad link to a new Ride video called “Charm Assault.” It may have been a long time coming but, trust me, this one was worth waiting for.

Aurally, “Charm Assault” is pure sensory bliss, filled with chiming guitars and locomotive drums that will cause a tingling in the nether regions of anyone who gets a little stiffy when they hear The Smiths or Stone Roses. The lyrics, which are just fluid enough to allow for personal interpretation, find Ride railing at the “focused, raw, reptilian ambition” of certain unspecified people in power, who “set fire to your world, and let it burn.” Yeah, I think we all know someone whom may apply to, although I hardly find him charming.

Directed by Jean de Oliveira, the clip was conceived by infamous acid casualty Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre), so the engaging visual bombardment of muted psychedelia is fully appropriate to the pastiche. Well-played.

“Charm Assault” can be found on Ride’s upcoming, first album of new material in 20 years, Weather Diaries (due out on June 16th, 2017 via Wichita Recordings). The album was mixed by studio legend Alan Moulder, so you know it sounds amazing, because the magic is in the mix! Enjoy!

Ride Charm Assault Video Still