Going Gallery
How to hop in Lexington

By Sarah Tackett

Every time I plan on attending one of the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council’s gallery hops, I’m subject to Murphy’s Law. Last week I called both of my two friends incessantly to remind them that they were going with me on Friday to hop from gallery to gallery like rabbits who enjoy art and wine. Several enthusiastic and annoying messages later they acquiesced, only to be left outside of my locked apartment in the rain. Now I’m down to one friend. One angry friend.

The details of my absence work out more like a complicated lie (canoes, lightning, screaming children, and then we ran out of gas). So let’s just say, it really wasn’t my fault. But even if I did make it past the steaming hot lava and the dragon throwing fireballs, I still don’t think I would have reached the gallery hop. In reality I only had an abstract idea of what it was. I just planned on going downtown and flagging down some “artsy people”(you know…beret, dark rimmed glasses, turtlenecks) and following them around. Maybe I’d make it to the hop, maybe I’d end up at a beat party in the east village, the point is that is not the way to be prepared. But I am determined to make it to the next one whether it be rain, sleet or snow, so I called the LACC and spoke with Travis who gave me some tips for hopping.

  1. Know ahead of time what you want to see. There are 33 sites that participate in the event, (that’s a lot of hopping). Even though you could technically see all the art in all the exhibits in the time allotted it would more likely make you vomit, than make you appreciate the work.
  2. Go down to Arts Place and pick up a Gallery Hop Brochure. These brochures list general information, as well as contain inserts about specific exhibits that showcase new work. If you pick up one about a week before, you can plan which work you want to see and which sites would be most interesting for you.
  3. Be prepared to walk around. In other words, leave your turtleneck at home if it is going to be steamy weather.
  4. Get the times straight. Some galleries will begin to stay open later than others, hosting after party functions that might entice you to stay out.
  5. The next hop will be September 17th so that should give you plenty of time to make it happen.

I’d like to thank Travis for his helpful advice as well as the LACC. It is great that they provide us with such big-city entertainment.

But Friday ended up to be a good time anyway. The kind people at Intrinsic Gallery allowed me to check out their opening exhibit after it was over. Although I missed the music and food, I got to see the art, which is the whole point, right? Let me tell you, viewing an exhibit by yourself is much different than going with someone who knows stuff. Most of the time I went from painting to painting thinking, “That’s neat, I don’t get it.” However, I do know what I like to look at. I stopped at Paul Nowacki’s work a couple times and thought, “wow.”

His paintings are distraught, uncomfortable and sad. The emotion reveals itself immediately, drawing you into the despair that is represented. I was told that the paintings Paradise Lost and Reality were direct reactions to 9/11. They were styled similarly to Picasso’s Guernica but the color and composition were all Nowacki. Real emotion pushed right up in your face. He also exhibited some of his early work, and you can tell that this artist has come along way, from street vendor charcoals to expressive and sophisticated paintings.

I met Nowacki not too long ago, interviewing him as the head chef at Alfalfa. He was gruff and to the point, which I thought was cool because I am not a big fan of pretense either. So I stopped by the restaurant again to see if he’d explain his work to me, using small words that I could understand. He told me that the motivation of his paintings came down to “self-satisfaction and political protest.” He credited his mother for teaching him about painting and the artists’ lesson of, “not painting to sell.” Which (I believe) makes the best art. He explained to me how he broke down the images to their basic lines in order to eliminate the distance between the emotion he is portraying and the viewer. Nowacki said he was concerned with creating, “not a duplicate or reality, but reality in itself.” His art is intense. But check it out for yourself. His paintings will be displayed at Intrinsic Gallery until August 1st. He even donated a piece to be auctioned at our exhibit this Sunday the 18th, at the Headley Whitney Museum. I’d buy it before y’all get your paws on it but unfortunately I am sans money.

While I have your attention, moving to the music scene, the Dame is hosting two events I should mention for next week. Local favorite, David Alvin will be playing Wednesday, July 21st. He is touring to promote his new CD, Ashgrove. Los Straitjackets will be opening for him at 7:00pm. On Friday, July 23rd Iris DeMent will also be playing at the Dame. Remember that Shakespeare in the Park is going on all week as well.

So go and be merry. If you see speed-walker-guy, slap him five for me. n