Last weekend, Tarnish & Gold gallery opened "Rough Draft," an exhibition featuring original sketches and drawings by Chuck U and Lizardman (Matt Wells), two very talented young artists who have seemingly limitless imaginations. Their work is incredibly detailed, dark, funny, bizarre, and sometimes just a little bit scary.
Each artist has been gaining in popularity locally. Wells is one of the founders of Rogue Citizen artist collective, and has shown some truly innovative collaborative work, including the phenomenal "Words to Dead Lips" in 2010, an interdisciplinary dance piece by Aniccha Arts where he served as Visual Designer. Chuck U, meanwhile, has designed album covers for local bands, and has recently launched an apparel line.
Both Chuck U and Lizardman have a style that sometimes reminds you of that kid in elementary school who instead of doing his work would make intricate drawings of monsters and other scary things. There's a sense that both of the artists are just having a lot of fun making what is in their brain materialize on paper. Mutants, robots, skulls, and Frankenstein-like creatures serve as subjects, with a dash surrealism sprinkled throughout their work. The concept for the show, displaying rough drafts, allows the viewers to get a glimpse at the free-form ideas that come from the two artists' imaginations.
In one Lizardman drawing, an emaciated creature has metal protruding from his back. He wears an oversized helmet, inside of which you can see the face of a man who seems disconnected from the rest of the body. Is the head trapped in the body of this thing, which is bent over in agony about to collapse? It's hard to tell tell for sure. In another drawing, an anthropomorphized dinosaur skeleton head looks nonchalantly forward with a cigarette dangling from his bone mouth.
Chuck U's drawings are darkly humorous and disturbing. There's the creepy looking woman with a psychotic expression on her face and weird tube sections of hair blowing in the wind, or the flying house with a mouth and tongue sticking out, spitting up a miniature house and carrying beneath it flowing tube things. In another drawing, a hairy robot monkey, complete with lamb chops and bushy eyebrows, has tubular eyes and telescopic pipes coming out of him, his mouth agape. Chuck U also has some "normal" looking drawings, including as a cityscape with great attention to detail and perspective work.
Through March 31
Tarnish & Gold
349 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
The gallery's open Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., or by appointment