by Josh Kraetsch
Collaboration is celebrated this season on the walls of Gallery 360. The current show, The Many Faces of Dick and Al, is a heady brew of two homegrown talents and one Southside creative haven that have been converging and working Minneapolis magic for years.
Known to be lively, inspiring and at times sobering, the works of local mixed-media staples Dick Brewer and Al Wadzinski are ever-inventive, clever and compelling. The two have found a collaborator to hang with in Gallery 360, which has hosted five previous fall shows that feature the duo’s junk assemblages and plexi-glass creations. The focus of this, their first themed show, is faces, and in these guys’ hands it becomes an invitation to investigate context.
Best buds who have been working
together and separately for a combined 55 years, “Dick and Al” have
amassed experience and materials aplenty, becoming adept at expressing stories
through objects they’ve accumulated along the way. This show begins with
their trip to the South Point of Hawaii, a natural trove of flotsam and jetsam,
and a perfect place for scavengers such as these to make faces from materials
at hand and then leave them in the sand. The beauty of the beach combined with
the fun of finding sea treasures is evident in the photo of a character created
with an unwitting puffer fish and fine locks of white plastic twine. The pathos
of a dead, wave-flayed fish is transformed and paid strange tribute by the playful
addition of accoutrements and sublime light saturating its face.
Though made of discarded items, these faces brim beauty and ignite the imagination,
even when they are cast as uglier sides of experience, such as “Geronimo
in Florida.” Forlorn and tortured, made appropriately from chains, this
piece is a reference, with reverence, to the time the Apache chief spent imprisoned
in Florida. One lonely feather sits atop the caved face, creating a powerful
portrait of an unfortunate soul, strong but broken.
The explosion of ideas and materials on display is far too varied to capture
here, but a trip to Gallery 360 offers such tricky treats as a bike-chain-encased-in-cement
face and a face composed from a TV tray and checkerboard that uses a spine for
a smile. The assemblages of Brewer and Wadzinski feature a vast array of materials—bones,
nails, angels, chains, bullet shells, bottle caps, aluminum can tabs, an old
photograph-as diverse as the expressions they represent.
The Many Faces exhibit brings the etceteras and miscellany of an overcrowded
world together with a restless, refined energy. Brewer and Wadzinski delight
in uniting the wonderfully unlikely, creating faces that remind us of what’s
lost and what’s found. ||
The Many Faces of Al and Dick is on display through Nov. 27 at Gallery
360, 3011 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-925-2400. Gallery hours are Mon.–Wed.
10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Thu. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6
p.m.; Sun. noon–5 p.m.