For those of you who are unaware, there is a hefty amount of work that goes into an art exhibit. After choosing the right artist for your gallery (which is a tremendous undertaking all on it’s own) there is a metaphorical ocean to cross before knowing if it is going to prove successful or not. Despite the work that goes into such an undertaking, the measure of success is not realized until opening night. Despite the obvious, the triumph of an art exhibit is not relative to the amount of people who come; the victory comes from the viewer. Do the guests breeze their way past the artworks and end up chatting in front of the complimentary wine or do they spend time talking about the work, lost in a conversation with the artist herself. Luckily for the people behind Callahan McDonough’s newest exhibition at Sight+Sound Gallery, the exhibit entitled A Sword of Moonlight and Imperishable Love proved worth it.
Located in the Old 4th Ward and housed in StudioPlex, (659 Auburn Ave, Suite G4) Sight+Sound Gallery is a multisensory gallery highlighting fine art as well as housing ten of the world’s top audio equipment, hence Sight+Sound. Showing until June 28, 2013, Callahan’s newest works are featured on large-scale wood panels, stretched canvas, Arches Paper, and up cycled Corrugated Cardboard, with each work abstractly telling stories of the artist’s past. Walking through the gallery on her opening night, I found myself lost in her elaborate paintings, partially due to the colorful presence they bring into the all white interior, and partly due to the intimate atmosphere. There is something to be said for smaller galleries with big impacts. There is a closeness you feel not only to the works themselves, but also to the people who surround you. Finding myself in conversation with the lovely British woman next to me wouldn’t have transpired if we were in a larger setting, and I will never forget that feeling of shared insight, something that doesn’t happen everyday to the introverted.
The cozy confines of the gallery also allowed me to get up close and personal to Callahan’s works, a perfect way to drink in her complex and highly intricate style of design. Her paintings are created using extravagant brushstrokes in vibrant hues, incorporating old photos and often text into her paintings. This aids in the depth and mystery created by her various layers of color on color. The shimmer of resin and gold paint draw the viewer in, but it is the multiple layers and details hidden throughout her works that maintain your interest. I often stroll through a gallery making mental notes of the pieces I will eventually visit at the end and slowly circle back around. This was not the case at Sight+Sound Gallery. It took me close to an hour to get through my first loop, finding myself lost in the details of her paintings and caught up in the colors and textures of her work. There seems to be a nice ebb and flow to how her works are presented as well, not allowing one canvas to overpower the next. I found myself connecting with each and every work of art. Although I’m not at the point in life where I can spend a few thousand on a piece of art, I did find myself the proud owner of a beautiful Gilcee Print, which is now one of my favorite pieces.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to see her latest body of work you can visit the gallery anytime before the 28th of June on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from noon to 5pm or Monday through Wednesday by appointment only. She is also giving an Artist Talk Wednesday May 22 from 7-8:30pm, giving us further insight behind her collection of works. While you’re there I highly recommend asking about their audio systems, the beauty and sound of these machines are incomparable. Lastly I want to pay tribute to the elaborate mind of Callahan which created this adventure in the first place. Happy viewing to you all.