MERGE: Merge

“Merge”, 2012, partial exhibition installation view, Plus Gallery

About the Exhibition

"Merge" brings together three diverse and massive bodies of work by artists Matt O'Neill, Eric Shumake and Shannon Novak. Matt O'Neill delivers a set of sketchbook drawings that are odd and intricate, merging a contemporary vibe with the influence of some of the artists European painting heroes. Eric Shumake unleashes his "Charnival" series of study paintings on the public for the first time, a body of work with deep philosophical and social implications, and one of the more fascinating we've had the pleasure to watch unfold to date. New Zealand artist Shannon Novak surrounds both artists with works from his experimental installation "One Song, Three Composers," a mind-blowing interpretation of sound through form and color that was first presented at CentralTrak gallery in Dallas earlier this year. Each artist has over 40 works on view in the space, the installation of which has been designed to weave the artists works together in its own distinct way.

Eric Shumake - The Charnival

"My current artistic practice is a series of paintings mixing ash and acrylic entitled Charnival: a carnival where everyone is on fire, painted in the style of old carnival posters. They poignantly bring to light the burning ephemera of our existence from our mortality, our identity, our environment, to our yearning for spiritual truth. In life everyone walks around like everything is fine, but often are secretly on fire with fear, jealousy, passion, anger, or whatever. Things that seem like harmless fun turn into addictions. It's like candyland after adolescence. Just as global warming takes time to appear, painting them as turn of the century carnival posters makes them like warning signs from 100 years ago, ironically painted with the very ashes from the apocalypse they predict."

Matt O'Neill - Recent drawings

To my mind, these drawings loaf in a territory somewhere between Mid century European modern and the high-school wood shop doodle. Hybrids, living somewhere between the school of Paris and community college, I hope them to invent an ersatz, americanized version of the European stuff I love so much.

Shannon Novak - One Song, Three Composers

By taking an interdisciplinary approach that blends fine art with music and harmonic science, the installation "One Song, Three Composers" seeks to contribute new ideas to sound and colour research, particularly in the area analyzing synesthetic colour to sound experiences. Novak has added colour and form into components of the installation based on his own synesthetic responses to sound, creating a unique tension between measurable and immeasurable colour to sound mappings.