Wormwood: Life in the Zone

hazmat sign radiation zone by wilke

The next Arts Council of Doom solo show to come after Gary’s show in February, “Wormwood” is Wilke‘s exhibition of digital paintings on canvas documenting life in the still uninhabitable Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. (description taken from Event Page) Below are a few images graciously provided by the artist himself, showing first the paintings themselves and their final form on canvas. There’s many more where these came from, so make sure and go check out the show at Tin Man Brewery before it closes May 17!

That event page again: https://www.facebook.com/events/691375340901638/

From the Wormwood Press release:

These digital paintings are inspired by photography from the abandoned Ukrainian city of Pripyat. Located 3km from the Chernobyl nuclear power facility, the city was evacuated three days after the 1986 accident. Pripyat is deep inside the 30km Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a highly contaminated area that remains uninhabitable 28 years later. The show’s title is drawn from Revelation 8:10-11, wherein a star, Wormwood, poisons a third of the fresh waters; Chernobyl is often reported to mean Wormwood in Russian.

Wilke’s Artist Statement gives more details on the Chernobyl catastrophe and describes the former Soviet Union’s construction of a temporary protective “sarcophagus” over the hazard, going on to describe the fragility of the under-maintained, under-funded structure and concluding:

Should the crumbling sarcophagus collapse prior to the completion of its replacement, the consequences could very well be greater than those of the initial accident.

Wilke ends on a somewhat upbeat, but ultimately ambiguous and haunting note, much like his images.

Wormwood: Life In The Zone is my attempt to draw attention to this situation. Inspired by photography from the abandoned Ukrainian city of Pripyat, located 3km from the Chernobyl nuclear power facility, these digital paintings on canvas, despite their somber inspiration and ominous namesake, continue in my vibrant and whimsical cartoon-inspired style and depict radiation suit-clad figures in a variety of amusing scenes. I hope you find these images fun, but also thought provoking. Should we fail to address the situation, we face the very real possibility of finding ourselves consigned to radiation suits ourselves.

Wilke also did a wonderful show called “All is Naut” in January 2014, right after my “God From the Machine” solo show in December. These both occurred before I started documenting art shows on my website, but I recently found a treasure trove of photos of both so I’ll be going back and doing featurettes on each of them soon.

At the Franklin Street Earth Day Art Crawl!!

evansville, indiana earth day activities poster

The day has finally come. If you haven’t come out yet, come join us on West Franklin Street for a day of family activities starting with the color run and including the outdoor art sale, a sidewalk chalk competition, two art shows, a free concert, and a huge kids’ setup with zorb balls, inflatable bounce-houses and art and science stations. I’ll be doing my thing along with more than 60 other artist booths on the front lawn of the park surrounding the West Branch Library, between the Wabash and 12th intersections. Here’s the Event Page for the whole schlemozzle: 2nd annual Color Me Fun 5K, Earth Day, Art Crawl and FREE concert on Franklin 4/19

Hope I see you there!


the drift scrap version I made for EDAC 2013 sandpaperdaisy

In my last post I mentioned that DRIFT had gone through different forms. Here you see DRIFT:SCRAP, a piece I made for last year’s Earth Day Art Crawl. I took a copy of my digital painting and decoupaged it to a piece of scrap wood left behind by the last people who owned our home, then screwed in different bits of machinery from busted appliances. I wanted to both extend the lines of the reclaimed bits in the children’s home-made rocket and also explore the Earth Day theme of art made from found objects. Everyone loved it including me!

My pictures of the piece are from last year (read: last phone) and aren’t that hot, but I’ll try to get some new ones. I still have this baby and I’ll be bringing it to this year’s Earth Day Art Crawl on the 19th where it will be for sale!

Phosphate, a lost (or rather, sold!) piece

brightly colored fish cut from paper, swimming in a phosphate polluted pond

Back in the days before I had an easier-to-use phone camera, the occasional odd work of traditional art would slip by me without getting fully documented. Such is the case with Phosphate, a piece I was actually quite proud of. I made it as a challenge to myself for last year’s Earth Day Art Crawl.

That year, the inaugural year of the art crawl, we participating artists were challenged to make art which was either environmentally themed, made from recycled materials, or both. I responded by making a phosphate-polluted pond with lovely koi-like fish below the scummy surface, digging out some neglected mod podge and a frame from an old piece of art. Little did I know that mod podge would soon become a frequent element in my traditional art pieces! At the time I just wanted a good way to seal up the old frame and effectively represent the uneven surface of a pond. Here are the progress shots I did manage to get of the piece:

You can see something of the finished piece in the last image, but alas! It is partially covered up by the next pieces I was working on, my “Fleurs du Mal” collage series. I was in something of a rush and I barely finished Phosphate before it was time to run it over to the gallery. Comforting myself that I would be able to document it once the show came down, my hopes were dashed when I discovered it had sold. (Certainly a piece of art being sold is something of a nice consolation prize though.)

I hope you’re happy with your new owner, Phosphate!

Franklin Street EDAC Outdoor Sale!!

Saturday, April 19th we’ll be having a huge, awesome art/jewelry/craft sale from 11am to 4pm. The sale will be on the front lawn of the lovely West Branch Library at 2000 W. Franklin Street, Evansville, Indiana. There’ll be food and children’s activities as well including bounce palaces, zorb balls, and an art and science station, all followed by a free concert in the park at 6pm. COME ONE COME ALL! The map of artist tables (pink), children’s events, food and the concert stage is below.

After you’ve seen the art crawl, check out the dual fabulous art shows Wormwood and The Big Lebowski in Little China!