This Saturday night Kent will be transformed into a haunting ground for zombies, comic book characters, Oscar the Grouch and countless other creative personas as we take to the streets to celebrate Halloween. If you can think of it, you will probably see it.
I always liked that Kent went all out for Halloween. If you haven't been downtown for the festivities in past years, you are in for a treat. And probably some tricks.
Amidst your stroll (read: tightly weaving through the wall of people in costume, trying not to get fake blood or glitter on you) downtown, stop by the , located at 257 N. Water Street, for their 9th Annual "Dia De Los Muertos" art show.
Translated as "Day of the Dead," this Mexican holiday honors all that have passed before us. But this is not a somber affair by any means. With music, food, art and large puppet sculptures, Kent's art community will be honoring the lives of the deceased and all they have bestowed upon us. This holiday views death not as an end, but as a new stage of life.
You will see artwork by Vince Packard, Gina M. Corron, Gary Phile, Trey Berry, Joanne Arnett, Jim Jewell, David Jerome Bragg, Frederick John Kluth, David Kiss, Scott Olson, Emily Bronski, Justin Evans, Mark Fabry, Jacob Davis, Tiffany Evansand David Montaro.
I have had the pleasure of taking a sneak peek at a few of the works by these talented artists. If the rest of the show is anything like these pieces, it will definitely bring a lively vibrancy to such a "dead" subject.
David Jermone Bragg will show a painting of the face of a girl looking out at you from the corner of her eye. On her skin Bragg painted the bones of her skull with vines lacing around the face.
Bragg often paints women as the main subject of his work. Beyond that he lets the spirit guide him, so to speak. In other words, he likes to paint something intuitively then sit back and figure out what it all means.
"(It's) kind of like abstract expressionism with just the shading being these squiggly lines, like I'm creating an automatic language or code. It's hard to explain, but ive managed to make it work," Bragg said.
Bragg also prefers to paint on oak so that the grain of the wood can be a part of the detail he puts into his work.
Gary Phile will show a painting of a female Flamenco dancer in action. Phile has been interested in the energy in this dancing style for quite some time. He "wanted to be able to go crazy with details" for this work. He also wants you to be able to lock eyes with this woman and feel the energy bursting from her dance.
This is an interesting theme between these two artists. Like Phile, Bragg also cites the importance of the eyes in his subjects as he paints.
It has been said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. In a show that celebrates the soul that has departed from the body I find it interesting that these artists are creating the feeling of life and energy through the eyes.
The cycle of life and death go hand in hand. Maybe that is what these artists are telling us. To celebrate death, we must also celebrate life. And conversely, to honor our lives on this earth is to honor the fact that they are ever changing.
There will be a family friendly parade at 7 p.m. Saturday to kick off the evening. At the North Water Street Gallery, live music by Taxidermy Special & Crane Lake Willow will serenade the festivities. The music will culminate in a drum march to at 10p.m. for an art reception. DJ’s from Kent’s Vinyl Underground will spin crazy deep cuts into the witching hours - or until the bars close, whichever comes first.
The exhibit at the North Water Street Gallery will run through Nov. 26. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday 1-5pm or by appointment.