If you’re any sort of grammar nerd, then the title of this show—I Know More Then You Think I Do—will have you wondering: Did they or didn’t they? Is the spelling error deliberate? Or is it a cringeworthy mistake made by people who just don’t know better? Looking at the style of the paintings—rainbow-hued, lowbrow street art—it could go either way.
So let’s clear the air: Yes, it’s on purpose. The misspelling, if you fell for it, is a sly joke proving the show’s very point. The artists in the 3 Baaad Sheep collective—Alexander Sky, Eddie “Cicifu” Canumay and Alexander P. Huerta—indeed know more than you think they do.
The trio’s current exhibit at Priscilla Fowler Fine Art consists of a variety of mixed-media pieces, including a cheeky painted coffee table (“Kong”), a creepy hipster clown (“Laugh Again Punk”) and a piece showing the wild exploits of The Rolling Stones (“Mick, Keith and the Boys”). But the heart of the show is its title piece, a layered, maximalist collage steeped with pop-culture iconography and street-corner politics. The imagery in the two 4-foot-by-15-foot loose canvases is free-flowing, edgy and subversive. It feels like stepping into somebody’s stream-of-conscious daydream.
How do the artists achieve such a rich, layered effect? It comes from their collaborative process and a lot of trust. In working together, each artist gives up his veto power—allowing any of the others to add on to or alter the work, no questions asked. By necessity, this process enables the artists to embrace a looseness and freedom.
In any case, the most striking aspect of these two canvases is what’s missing, not what’s there. The canvases have squares of various sizes randomly cut out. Fans have written messages in marker directly on the gallery wall in the blank spaces.
It’s jarring to see gallery art with pieces simply missing. It seems to violate the deepest taboo of the art world. That’s precisely the point with this piece, however. Art buyers are encouraged to take a wooden frame and pick out their portion of the mural to take home. Viewers can touch the canvas, and it’s fun to move the different sized frames around, seeing how the piece changes via cropping. If you buy a piece, you get to leave a note on the wall. And the gallery will stretch the customized canvas while you wait.
When the canvases become too shredded, the artists simply sew the remaining pieces together and keep going. It’s the picture of resilience, a crazy quilt for the cool kids. Or, if you prefer a food metaphor, it’s like one of those perpetual stew recipes, where the broth becomes more flavorful the longer it simmers.
I Know More Then You Think I Do Through March 31, Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m., free. Live Painting March 17, 1-4 p.m. Priscilla Fowler Fine Art, 719-371-5640.