Downtown art studio presents 'Things That Go Bump In the Night'

Contributed photo

Pictured are china dolls that are part of a collection that are on display at Dave and Pauli's Art Emporium in downtown Dalton from Friday through the first week on November.

With Halloween just around the corner, many of us are reminded of the season’s spookier traditions and celebration of all things creepy and macabre. With this in mind, Dave and Pauli’s Art Emporium is showcasing a collection of art that will remind the viewer of those wonderful creatures and creations that occasionally haunt our dreams and send our imaginations running.

The show, titled “Things That Go Bump In the Night,” opens Friday at 7 p.m. with a gallery reception and celebration. Dave and Pauli’s Art Emporium is at 218 N. Hamilton St. in downtown Dalton. The event is free and refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call (706) 313-9518.

The exhibit, which will remain up through the first week in November, features the work of several area artists and showcases a variety of paintings and sculptures that will leave an indelible mark on the viewer — and may even have some checking under their bed before turning in.

Gallery co-owner David Aft, who curated the show, noted he was particularly excited by this show as it speaks to the viewer in many ways. Some of the art is inspired by the horror genre, while other pieces defy easy description.

“Viewers can expect to see things that are familiar characters in the horror lexicon, like the Mummy and Frankenstein’s monster, but also expect to see a variety of unique and unusual pieces, most of which will have them checking their doors twice before retiring," Aft said.

Aft said he made a concerted effort to avoid the gory or violent, preferring to challenge people’s imagination.

“Inanimate objects only become scary when people bring their fear to the table, and that is our interest here," he said. "Beyond the initial shock of seeing something that’s a little different or disturbing, we want the viewer to engage the work and remember it. I can guarantee you that most of the work we will have on exhibit will be memorable.”

The show features work by several local artists.

Dave and Pauli’s co-owner Pauli Aft debuts a significant collection of art inspired by china dolls and their almost eerie presence. In discussing her work, she is quick to point out that, “I have crafted each piece with the goal of challenging the viewer to find a new perspective. Many of us played with dolls when we were young. They embodied a wholesome and nurturing spirit. I have tried to examine the other side of this equation, using the unique character of each doll to suggest a more mystical and even haunted presence.”

Dalton-based artist Kevin R. Sexton will show several pieces of work inspired by the monster movies of yesteryear.

“Horror has changed so much over the last few years, with blood, gore and imminent danger replacing the subtle suspense and creativity that characterized older stories," Sexton said. "To me, there are few things scarier than the creature who lurks in the shadows, threatening to jump out from behind the door. Mad scientists and cursed tombs always stoked my imagination.”

Sexton is well known for his paintings and sculptures. He is also a noted filmmaker whose résumé includes four feature-length “monster” movies produced in an around Dalton. In addition to the work that will be shown, Sexton continues to work with specialty toy manufacturers to recreate unusual and rare additions to their toy lines, recently completing a creature from the early "Star Wars" universe that will be sold throughout the United States and abroad.

Another artist whose work will be featured is well-known comic book illustrator Rob Brown. Brown’s work has appeared in hundreds of comic over the last 30 years. Brown’s reputation as a commercial artist and illustrator led him to work with Marvel Comics, Chaos Comics, Black Cloud Books and many others. Brown’s work during his three-year tenure with Marvel Comics include work on Spider-man and Ghost Rider. Brown’s work has also graced several album covers including work for Insane Clown Posse and Dee Snider’s “Stangeland.”

During a recent interview, Brown remarked that, “When I was a kid, we couldn’t wait for the next issue of our favorite comics to come out. We knew that each would take us on a special adventure, and I guess I never stopped looking for that next adventure. I found it in my art, first as a hobbyist, then as a professional. I love to tell stories and comic books provided a wonderfully accessible medium for this.”

Meril Thomison, a local artist and founder of Dalton’s Artistic International Studios, will have several pieces on display. Pauli Aft shared that viewers will find Thomison's work captivating.

“I particularly admire his ability to capture the haunting nature of subjects. He has a couple of illustrated pieces that he has done with colored pencils, pens and pastels that showcase his talent as an illustrator," he said.

Thomison stated that he was enchanted with the idea of an art show based on the idea of things that frighten us.

“I have been a fan of the horror genre and monster movies, in general, since I was a young child. I think everyone has something that scares them, whether they be ghosts or creatures with fangs and claws," Thomison said. "Our modern world has added concepts like zombies and mutants to the horror vocabulary, but at its very core, all of these creatures and spirits lie just beyond our view, creating tension, anxiety and the occasional surprise.”

David Aft added: “Dalton artist Ruth Park will also have a couple of pieces in the show. Viewers will appreciate her sense of humor, but will also be see where her work fits perfectly with that of the other artists. Her viewpoint is different than that of her fellow contributors and has a perfect blend of sweetness and treachery.”

Park shared that she appreciated the opportunity to show her work at Dave and Pauli’s Art Emporium and loved the idea of a show based on the things that startle us.

“I spend much of my day with a paint brush in my hand and the chance to create something in this genre was a wonderful change from the street murals and large graphic pieces I have become known for," Park said.

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