Sometimes the name says it all. Adam Stone’s initial idea for Cabal Gallery’s big birthday bash was to simply call it Ew — and according to resident artist Mar Williams, “I think most of our art evokes a bit of that.”
Cabal got its start last October, when a group of local artists and entrepreneurs decided to create an incubator for sharing stories and sparking new ideas, and put it at the former Concoctory, at 1875 South Broadway. Or, as Williams explains it, “Cabal was launched to get these creative weirdos all in one place, invite other artists in to play and see where it takes us.”
From 6 to 10 p.m. this Saturday, October 10, the gallery will present not Ew, but Afterbirth, an anniversary show featuring sculptural and interactive works by resident artists Williams, Jesse Frazier (Faim Worldwide), Joshua Finley and Patrick McGirr (Girr), along with guest artist Sarah Ferguson and featured artist Stone. Cabal’s all about local art, music and culture, and so Finley – who's in a couple of incredible Denver bands – will be playing original music along with rock group OROYA and trio Granny Tweed. “Josh will be playing a bass guitar strung with umbilical cords inside a giant robot head,” says Williams, who then adds this disclaimer: “Two thirds of that statement might be true.”
There will be food and drink, too. “Euro Crepes, our new neighbor across Broadway, will be here slinging delicious crepes,” Williams says. And sponsors Ska Brewing and Sailor Jerry are providing the refreshments.
Over the last year, Cabal has focused primarily on mural art. Afterbirth, however, will be mostly sculptural. “We're all doing something a little outside of our comfort zones,” Williams explains. “Sculpture is a big part of that — trying to push ourselves out of our heads, and spill out something bigger than paintings hung on white walls.”
“For this show, each artist's section of the space is being built into an environment, as an invitation to viewers to play inside our heads,” says Williams. Frazier’s installation, for example, is a pop-art grocery store. Using well over a hundred product-themed art pieces – including 112 cereal-box-sized pieces – Frazier explores the ideas of art as commodity and examines art’s place in today's consumer-driven culture.
“Each handbuilt wooden box is painted to resemble modern-day product packaging while expressing my retro style,” Frazier says, noting that there are “a few surprises that will be unveiled at the gallery opening that pay homage to one of my biggest pop-art inspirations."
The show marks Williams’s first attempt at sculpture. “I'm really happy with the results," he says. "I'm building a small army of creatures, and I'm excited to see them slumped over, crawling up the walls, staring vacantly and blurping small, pained noises.”
McGirr and Ferguson teamed up to take guests on “a visual trip down the rabbit hole,” as McGirr puts it. “Rabbit,” he continues, “is the main course, followed by a plethora of visual dessert.”
The sculptures, as you may have gathered, are interactive. The artists don’t want to spill any secrets prior to the show, but Stone offers some totally bizarre insight into what we might expect to find: "I put someone in the back room. I left them there. Something grew inside them. I did not let them out. Most of the person is gone now. Here's what's left."
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Stone’s iteration of his work is symbolic of Cabal’s first year, which was largely about “trying things out and seeing what works,” Williams says. “Where we've landed is a core group of passionate artists who work ridiculously well together. There has been a lot of positive feedback and involvement from the community, and we're going to keep loving our space, spawning ideas and making art together.”
Since its inception a year ago, Cabal has put on a monthly art opening featuring a different guest artist, live music and food. The artists have also hosted workshops and classes for adults and kids, and they’ve worked hard to create a welcoming place for the community — one that’s both “unpretentious and encouraging,” says Williams.
For more information, visit Cabal's Facebook page.
Follow Jamie Siebrase on Twitter.