CULTURE- ART FEATURE- Edgy in the Valley: Counterculture comes to Staunton
IMAGE COURTESY JAMEY GRIMES
"If the painting doesn't go with the sofa, get a new ****ing sofa!" Credited to Schopenhauer (no, you literalists, he didn't say it), that's just one of several "subliminal messages" Kevin Postupack has posted around KRONOS, the art gallery he recently opened in Staunton.
The invented quotes tell you a lot about Postupack, 48. He's an angry guy, a hilarious guy, an imaginative guy– but most of all, Postupack is a guy impassioned by art's possibilities.
"Art used to be a direct response of artists to the life they're living at this moment, to the environment– sort of a 'canary in a coal mine' kind of thing," he says, citing Goya's and Picasso's examinations of war. "So much of art now is just so bland, homogenized, and pre-digested."
An artist and writer himself (in addition to poetry, he's authored the novel, The Serial Killer's Diet Book), Postupack wants KRONOS to open local eyes to cutting-edge contemporary art. The upstairs gallery, which is set in a row of otherwise touristy shops on Byers street, features a windowless main room with exposed brick and stone walls and an open defunct elevator. Paying homage to Marcel Duchamp's 1938 surrealist exhibition in Paris, Postupack urged people to bring flashlights to KRONOS' April 13 opening.
For its inaugural exhibition, the gallery offers paintings by Postupack, as well as work by Leslie Banta and Dutch artist Dymph de Wild. Banta's small illuminated dioramas of bedrooms, often in perilous circumstances, are particularly engaging. Their miniature beds offer tiny refuges in an unsafe world.
Postupack says that in the future the main gallery will showcase solo artists, while the foyer and front room will display a range of work from "the collection." An exhibition to note: Banta's brother, Jamey Grimes, will show his intriguing structural sculptures next December.
KRONOS also hosts poetry and music nights, and Postupack is considering opening the venue to experimental one-act plays. He welcomes inquiries from interested artists. But be forewarned– don't include a resume with your CD or slides. Postupack, whose website is artisdangerous.com, promises anything smacking of the art establishment will be ritually burned. What matters is the visual.
"We're trying to look at the broader picture here of art. If everybody is just trying to fill a really tiny hole, it's not really fulfilling anything," he says. "I want to show people that there is a world beyond what they're used to."
KRONOS is located at 14 Byers St. in the historic Wharf District of downtown Staunton. Hours: Th, 4-8pm; Fri, 1-8pm, Sat, 12-8pm, and Sun, 1-5pm. For more information on events and exhibitions, visit artisdangerous.com or call 540-213-1815.