Sunday, April 8, 2012

'Pop-up' art gallery makes its debut

Art Messer's having a show (and you're invited)

In his own eccentric way, Art Messer is something of a neighborhood institution. He's been around the place in one guise or other since at least 1979, when he opened an art gallery and frame shop on E. Madison (in the building later to become infamous as Constance Gillespie's "black hole").  Messer's also an artist, raconteur, gadabout, and longtime resident of the Park who can often be seen sauntering around "The Village" or at ease in one of various neighborhood hangouts, talking to friends and passersby.  When not engaged in one of these activities he paints.

It's been over two decades since Messer had a gallery in the Park.  He closed up shop in 1990 in order to devote his time to travel and painting (preferably in tendem).  Since then he's shown his works in at least 100 shows. And though he travels to get inspiration (Paris is his next destination), it's Madison Park and his tiny apartment/studio across the street from Best Buds to which he always returns.

On April 1, Messer opened a "pop-up" (meaning temporary-in-the-space) gallery next to the Bank of America branch, a space that recently housed a "pop-up" antique store (4110 E. Madison Street). His show is entitled "Still Lifes and Romance" and/or "Spring Romance" and features a mix of old and new works, including 20 originals and 20 prints priced at $500-$2,000.

Messer places himself squarely in the Fauvist school (think Matisse), with paintings that are bright, energizing, and somewhat less than (or more than, depending on your viewpoint) representational.  His current collection is mix of landcape, portraiture, and still lifes.

Messer is hosting a wine-and-hors d'oeuvres reception at the gallery on Tuesday evening, April 10, 6-9 pm.  The artist enjoys the support of several local patrons who, we understand, will be on hand to expound on the virtues of Messer's art.  And, of course, there will be Art himself, who is not known for being at a loss for words.

Here's a sample of Art talking about his art: "When I paint, I prefer simple compositions. This allows me to express with color a fun, even humorous, view of life. When I can say a painting gives me a happy feeling, I know that I have reached my goal."  He invites the neighborhood to come be happy with him.

The show ends on April 28, so you better get in before the good stuff is gone.  Of course, as Art will tell you, it's all good stuff.

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