The Day of the Dead sounds like the subtitle to the next Saw movie but this international holiday has a long (albeit a bit macabre) history that is being celebrated for the sixth straight year in downtown Kent compliments of another great art exhibition at Standing Rock Gallery starting October 25th at 8 pm and running thru November 29th. Paris does high fashion, New York never sleeps, and Kent knows how to throw a Halloween party and what better way to get things kicked off than Day of the Dead artwork. Tim Burton eat your heart out (well, not literally).
Standing Rock Gallery in downtown Kent has always got something interesting brewing and at the risk of sounding morbid, nobody north of Mexican border does Day of the Dead like they do.
Here’s the information from the show director:
Come celebrate our sixth annual Day of the Dead show. This festive Mexican Holiday honors all those who have passed before us. But let us not be somber. There will be music, food, drinks, paintings and sculpture. Like the celebration of a birthday, this holiday reconfirms annually the love, goodwill, and generosity that the beloved can count on, no matter that they are dead.
DÍa de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in many parts of the world, typically on November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and November 2 (All Souls’ Day). The Day of the Dead is also celebrated to a lesser extent in other Latin American countries; for example, it is a public holiday in Brazil, where many Brazilians celebrate it by visiting cemeteries and churches. The holiday is also observed in the Philippines. Observance of the holiday has spread to Mexican-American communities in the United States, where in some locations, the traditions are being extended. Similarly-themed celebrations also appear in some Asian and African culture.
Though the subject matter may be considered morbid from the perspective of some other cultures, celebrants typically approach the Day of the Dead joyfully, and though it occurs at the same time as Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day, the traditional mood is much brighter with emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, and celebrating the continuation of life; the belief is not that death is the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life.
About the Artists in the Show
I am ridiculous in so many ways. But I love people and human potential, I revere life and all its details, and I think ridiculous is fun.
Drawing faces, everywhere I went, this was becoming an obsession. I had a sketchbook and pencil at all times, capturing the likeness of whomever I was struck by. I have drawn thousands of faces spanning many years and countries, in love with each subject’s individual beauty. It was this that got me to paint. I needed to add color and texture to match the personalities of my passions. I would come up with a concept, a way to tell something about the human experience, and I would find the right faces to fit the idea. The ideas started to take over, transcending faces or style. Biological equations and organic perfection, metaphysical discoveries, exploration into the meaning of life, the manifestation of love and beauty, these became my obsession.
Which, of course, brought me right back to that which to me embodies all of those things: the human soul, shining out from the faces that house it. I paint because I can’t not. I am driven by the urgency to transmit an important idea, to praise something so beautiful it takes my breath away, to feel the smooth, colorful flow of creativity moving through me.
I see the potential for peace and therefore wish to depict a pathway to its awakening within each of us, hoping to remind us that we are connected, free, beautiful, one. I see the world in frames of aesthetic perfection, when the tree branches infiltrate the sunset sky in such a way, I have no choice but to let my brush imitate the delicate lines upon the horizon. I have been known to paint a lot of naked women. To me, every woman I paint is Gaia, the goddess of creation. Perhaps the most important thing we as humans can do for peace is to embrace and exalt the feminine energy within all of us, bringing us back into balance. When I do “performance painting” and paint with live music, I tap in to the creative stream and intend to send it out visually and energetically, raising the vibration of the room and exemplifying intuitive freedom through my own experience.
Trey, an immigrant from Boulder, Colorado, currently lives in Akron, Ohio. He recognized at an early age that his passion for life was the creation of beautiful objects. He studied fine art and design at Memphis State University and most recently studied with Martina Hoffman and Robert Venosa where he was introduced to the Mische technique of the old masters. He has been exhibited nationally and his work is in private collections throughout the United States and Canada.
Painting to Trey Berry is creating out of his inner world. In his work a connection with a higher consciousness is expressed. Nothing exists that does not touch the other. The more we become aware of our inner world, the more our relationship changes with our outer world or reality. The understanding of the subconscious and discovering the meaning of super conscious symbols that speak to all of humanity is the objective of his work. His paintings imagine mystic and symbolic worlds that express wonder not fear of the unknown.
When I was born my dad Raymond was teaching art deep in the Appalachian eastern Kentucky county of Pike, my mom, Ellen, being a beautiful ballet dancer refugee from Berlin Germany. Riddle: The year I was born is exactly the same upside down. The whole year. As in 1001, 1691, it doesn’t happen again until the year 6009. I grew up pretty much in Akron Ohio playing in my dad’s west exchange street art gallery. That could be really fun with shows by Peter Max and Mark Mothersbough, and the big blow-up soft sculpture car that all the kid’s came around to jump on. But often the art could be really boring and I came to trust my child’s eye that I never wanted to go the boring, elitist, academic route.
A couple years in Venice beach California with my brothers Raynard and Damon and dad, and then hitching around the country wound me up at a Native American demonstration in Washington called the Longest Walk. With the Native culture I refined a perspective on the environment and the tribal challenge to our destructive culture.
Teenage angst and rebellion led me into the punk music/art scene just in time for the Reagan era. The idea that Americans elected that idiot for a president pushed me into punk and alternative ideas as far as I could go.
I did a stint in Michigan growing veggies and milking goats at the farm outside of Lansing. I liked that direction and before long me and Liz found ourselves in the backwoods of Lincoln County, West Virginia, building a solar powered cabin and riding horses every day. The outhouse hippy redneck scene was fulfilling and my art geared more towards environmental activism and wildlife and my son Corey was born in 1986. Tthe end of the decade me and Liz split and I headed over the Ohio River to Athens Ohio.
Dave Nicholi Araca helped me explore the tattooing scene which I had dabbled in since I was 14. This got me traveling to tattoo conventions near and far selling my design sheets in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans and everywhere in between. Sadly, Dave died unexpectedly, leaving me to fake my way into tattoo shops. The 90’s saw me work in shops in Kalamazoo Michigan, Lexington and Richmond Kentucky, Athens Georgia and Pigeon Forge Tennessee. I spent 3 fun years tattooing in San Marcos Texas at Touch of a Feather and 3 more in the hoppin’ neighborhood of Little 5 points in Atlanta at Urban Tribe Tattoos.
Tattooing was great but I wanted to take some time off to explore other mediums. It’s been a tricky transition, when I was close to destitution I had some horrible experiences in some crappy tattoo shops that burned me bad. This new millennium has me back up to Kent Ohio doing wonderful fun projects with Jexo at Standing Rock Cultural Arts. My work with the kid’s plays, my art shows, mask workshops and puppets at the North Water Street Gallery and the friends, family and community have kept life good.