Apocalypse Now: New Works by Antonio Adams, Emily Brandehoff & Marc Lambert

By Shawn Buckenmeyer

Don’t turn around now: there’s a rotting zombie closing in. But no worries, a high-tech hovercraft awaits to take you away to safety. No, this isn’t a movie I’m talking about; it’s the newest exhibit Apocalypse Now: New Works by Antonio Adams, Emily Brandehoff & Marc Lambert, curated by Thunder-Sky, Inc’s co-founder, Bill Ross, on display at Semantics Gallery. Apocalypse Now explores the concepts of utopian and dystopian societies.

What do you think of when you hear the word apocalypse? I always see images of burned out landscapes stretching miles into the distance, cities in chaotic ruin and the screams of those left behind, scrounging around in clouds of smoke and death. For Emily Brandehoff it’s all about the zombies, created with a hellishly wonderful sense of humor. Brandehoff, a self-taught artist from Cincinnati, Ohio who paints mostly in acrylics, weaves together blood smeared flesh-eating creatures and pop culture references all under the umbrellas of clever titles. For example in one painting a zombified Honey Boo Boo stares at the viewer with vacant eyes and a blood smeared mouth; hilariously titled “Honey has a Booboo”. In a series of pieces titled “Olan Mills Family Discount Series”, each zombie is “politely” posed for our viewing pleasure. That’s right zombies, even you can get your family portraits done. In another painting a female zombie server offers up a decapitated head on a plate, titled “Open Face Sandwich”. Think Waitress meets Dawn of the Dead.

Marc Lambert, an artist from Cincinnati, Ohio who began showing his art in 2007, tackles the future in a different light with Visions of Utopia, in which all your sci-fi dreams come true. Lambert has the front room of Semantics’ two room gallery space and there seems to be a natural progression that takes places within the sphere of these two worlds; the show goes from an immaculate, shiny technologically advanced world view to a world gone mad with consumption and blood lust. I can’t help thinking there is a delicious irony at play here. Lambert’s artwork includes paintings, miniature models, spacecrafts, and robotic creations. Looking at Lambert’s work several words come to mind: metallic, retro, peaceful, and lonely. His paintings are mostly devoid of humans with buildings, spacecrafts and technology serving as the focal point. It is this mixture of peacefulness and loneliness that most resonates in Lambert’s artwork.

Bill Ross, the co-founder of Thunder-Sky, Inc and Visionaries & Voices, lends his own take on the apocalyptic scene in his painting titled, “The Beginning of the End…Thanks Stupid Vampire Money”. In this painting a vehicle lays empty and abandoned amidst a desolate landscape. In the foreground of the painting a vampire monkey, blood smeared across his mouth, looks at the viewer without guilt, while his victim, a helpless sleep, bleeds out onto the ground. Even the sheep don’t escape unscathed in Ross’s gorgeous world of vibrant colors and death.
Also included in this exhibit are two collaborative pieces completed by Brandehoff and Ross and Brandehoff and Antonio Adams. I am a huge fan of the process of collaborative art creation so it was wonderful to view artwork infused with the artistic energies of two different artists working together with a shared goal, to produce something magical.

Whether you imagine the future as a zombie apocalypse, as a technologically advanced society, a world rampant with killer monkeys or a landscape filled with ash and decay as I do, one thing is for certain: the folks at Thunder-Sky, Inc and Semantics have put together quite a show for those who have their eyes to the future. No zombies were killed during the course of this exhibit.

Apocalypse Now: New Works by Antonio Adams, Emily Brandehoff & Marc Lambert, is currently on display at the Semantics Gallery with hours most Saturdays Noon-4p.m., (Call in advance). You can visit Thunder-Sky, Inc’s website for more details.
Thunder-Sky, Inc’s website- http://raymondthundersky.org/apocalypse-now-at-semantics-gallery/

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