Friday, February 2, 2007

The other "Left Behind" series

A smudged Jerrry Seinfeld biography. A package of electrical-outlet caps. A potato-chip bag clip. These are the things we leave behind. Yes, someday these remainders that hide in the deepest depths of our junk drawers will be all that's left in some withering time capsule.

And it’s these easily discarded and now archaic items (a tape recorder the size of a toddler, anyone?) local painter Wyatt McDill has chosen to eulogize in brightly colored paintings as they plead from a thrift store shelf for one last chance. His current exhibit, “Past Lives: Thrift Store Ephemera,” is on view at Creative Electric Studios on Saturday afternoons through February 17.

If they’re lucky, McDill’s used-up and tossed-aside subjects will wind up at a local Savers rubbing elbows with Cancun shot glasses. And if they’re really lucky, they’ll become born again, living out another few years as either a functioning member of a household (a thermos, perhaps?) or in kitsch infamy (anything with eagles, both the band and the patriotic bird).

McDill has spent years obsessing over these things. And like a true thrifter and connisseur of kitsch, he’s collected the items and given them a new existence as a series of odd still lifes. McDill’s pastels seem to be asking: What does, say, a row of random lamps whose lives cross decades say about life and its cycle?

Visitors to this intriguing little exhibit will want to take note of the dump bin of assorted undesirable goodies in the middle of the gallery space. While we were there, we spotted a few people surreptitiously tossing in a few items of their own: a hotel key card, an US Weekly magazine, a Camel cigarette. And as one local artist astutely noted and joked while tossing in a hair comb: “My teachers always said all artists should bring with them leave-behinds, something you can give to others to remember you by. I never knew what they meant until now.”

Creative Electric Studios,

Wyatt McDill,

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