History of the World: Owen Sherwood + Andrew DeGraff

This is a guest post from Caroline Corrigan. Thanks Caroline!

While some argue that Troy is trying desperately to cling on to the shred of hipness it held in the Capital Region for a few years, there are some things that are still making it a beautiful, cool, historic city. Things like the year-round farmer’s market, its tight walkability, a handful of antique shops and small boutiques, The Troy Bike Rescue, Brown’s Brewery, and The Arts Center.

But wait, you’ve never heard of The Arts Center? After working there for nearly two years, I’m not surprised. There’s a combination of issues—people not crossing the Hudson for fear of the unknown “Troilet, perhaps a lack of funding for advertising, and having only maintained an audience base of people between the ages of 40-60. As one of the only twenty-somethings on staff at The Arts Center, I’ve struggled to get friends through the door for our art openings, performances, classes, and have even bugged some of my really talented friends to teach photography and cooking workshops (ahem, Andrew is teaching a photography class in May). Slowly but surely, I’m working hard to make sure people are aware of this place, and some of the great things that we do.

I’ve got one.

Come to the opening reception for History of The World: Owen Sherwood + Andrew DeGraff in the Main Gallery next Friday, April 29th. Yes, there will be free food. Yes, there will be wine. Yes, the artists will be there.

History of the World features illustrators and artists Owen Sherwood and Andrew DeGraff in a vibrant collection of drawings, paintings, and site-specific wall-based works. The combination of draftsmanship, fantasy, surrealism, humor and an oddball-pop sensibility offers up a special glimpse into the world of these two artists, transforming the gallery into a walk-in sketchbook. For fans of the more graphic shows from Marketplace Gallery, like the Just Seeds poster exhibition, or fans of local artists like Radical!, this show will impress you, make you laugh, and make you think, “shit, these guys are so good!

Sherwood and DeGraff are best friends, but do hold a friendly rivalry. They attended the same high school in Averill Park, NY, studied Illustration and lived as roommates at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and now compete against each other for work as professional illustrators. DeGraff lives and works in Brooklyn, and Sherwood lives in Troy.

The unique details in the show challenge the norms of gallery status-quos, such as hand-written credits for each piece inscribed directly on the wall in pencil, huge hand-painted murals, directly on the wall, a hilarious pseudo-historical portrait of each artist, drawn by the other, and an intimate, inspiring Artists’ Library where visitors are invited to take a seat in a comfy antique chair, and flip through the artists’ sketchbooks, art reference books, and more. You can even participate in a collaborative wall-drawing featuring two battleships that the artists began, and wish for visitors to continue. Have a seat, take a piece of scrap, draw your own special bomb/missile/fireball, and tack it to the wall.

My favorite piece in the show is a collection of small, unframed, colorful drawings that are tacked right on the wall. Each drawing is a humorous depiction of something off-color, funny, or gross, and the words inscribed “THIS IS YOU. Based on a blog the friends created as a way to keep in touch and make fun of each other from a 180 mile distance, the artists describe the project as “an ongoing slugfest of visual bitchslaps. Look for the one called Crap Soup.

History of the World: Owen Sherwood + Andrew DeGraff
The Arts Center of the Capital Region | 265 River Street in Downtown Troy
April 4 – June 3 | Main Gallery | Reception: Friday, April 29, 2011 | Troy Night Out | 5:30 – 9:00 P.M

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