A vivid painting stands tall, from the floor to well above the average person’s head, a riot of color and faces, a collage of brushwork, print, and found objects. It depicts chaos, but it’s not chaotic. It has a point to make, and you know that before you see the writing in a small panel of the piece. It’s hard to make out at first. You have to get close to see it. But then the words are plain as day: “If you decide to fly, be the pilot.”
The piece — by Shaunda Holloway — is one of the first that greets you in “Trash Talk,” an art exhibit on view until May 3 at the New Alliance Foundation Gallery, room S101 at Gateway Community College.
“Trash Talk” features the art of Shaunda Holloway, Aileen Ishmael, Jahmane, Iyaba Mandingo, Aisha Nailah, Ibou Ndoye, Amit Sahu, and Nate Williams, and the title of the exhibit provides a key to unlock the ways the pieces in the exhibit are connected to one another.
The title can be understood as a pun. The artists’ styles hearken to graffiti and other street art, modes of expression that still fight for legitimacy in the art world even as they’re embraced more and more for the life and energy they bring. But the phrase also tells you something about the artists’ approach — playfully aggressive, confrontational, clever, and fun, and intended to make the game better. Read more in the New Haven Independent.