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The Monster Show

Area artists face their monsters

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


Monsters aren’t what they used to be.

Or at least that’s what curator Rebecca Stockert thought when she began to solicit pieces for the Monster Show, an art show running through the end of June at the Firefly Coffee Shop on North Anthony. “I think monsters are a big theme right now in our culture,” Stockert says. “And it intrigues me, because we’ve taken the idea of a ‘monster’ and changed what it means.” Stockert explains that, for whatever reason, “monster” doesn’t necessarily mean something scary anymore. “It’s something that’s cute. It’s a pop icon now.”

Except, of course, when it’s not. The Monster Show, which includes a host of area artists working in a wide range of mediums, has plenty of the “new” type of monster — odd, quirky creatures with plenty of personality that are certainly bizarre but come across as unthreatening, like Patrick Gainer’s “A Monster A Day…” piece; or Bob Rebrovich’s mixed media piece “City Pie”; or Deb Washler’s “Holli the Little Monster,” a resin-coated painting of a creature that looks as though it just stepped out of the pages of a children’s book — appropriately enough, since Washler says her three-year-old daughter not only named Holli but picked the monster out of a series of drawings.

But Stockert says she was surprised by how many artists went the other direction, like Tess O’Day’s take on “Frankenstein” and Conlen Patrick’s weird “New Shoes.” “I got more that were of the traditional image of the monster,” she says. “Paul DeMaree gave me a pretty traditional oil painting of a cyclops, for example.”

You’ll notice DeMaree’s cyclops is holding a wine glass rather than a club. That’s because it’s inspired by the cyclops passage in James Joyce’s Ulysses as much as the original source.

Tim Baron’s “Gerasene Demoniacs” is a particularly striking piece, inspired by a story of demonic possession from the Gospel of Mark. “That’s the one I’ve gotten the most guff about, because it’s so scary,” laughs Stockert. “This one woman said ‘why would you have something so disgustingly ugly up on your wall?’ And I thought, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me?’ The funny thing is, Tim (Baron, the artist) is a Christian, and so was this woman who was complaining, but there was still this barrier there.”

Stockert says she’d like to try to bring the idea back next year. “The artists had a lot of fun with it,” she says.

The Monster Show runs through the end of June.
Firefly Coffee House
3523 N Anthony

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