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Multi-gallery show explores connections between fine art and rock and roll fandom

Jenny Lewis by Abbie Gillardi
Abbie Gillardi
Jenny Lewis

This weekend a new art show held in tribute to St. Louis and rock and roll opens in multiple Grand Center venues. Although the show is held in fine art spaces, organizer Jason Gray hopes it will attract music fans as well. 

“You can’t negate the fan right?” said Gray. “Rock and roll has this tremendous fan-base and culturally it’s this kind of zeitgeist, so it was important for me to think about what the fan would want to see and probably hasn’t seen before.”

The show is titled Sound + Vision and features concert photography documenting performances throughout the city, one painter’s fascination with a rock and roll icon, and live performances.  Participating artists hope to portray rock and roll in St. Louis from various perspectives.

Abby Gillardi runs a photo business that includes weddings, parades and portraits as well as documenting concerts. She frequently shoots at mid-level and smaller venues. She said her technique and the photos selected for the exhibit often reflects the intimacy of those concerts.

“The lighting plays a pretty big roll. I tried to choose photos that ... kind of brought out emotion, like the musician’s facial expressions,” said Gillardi.

Kenny Williamson has spent more than 10 years shooting headliners like Elton John, KISS and Kelly Clarkson; and he captures the bombast and large-scale production of major tours.

Commercial photographer John Paul Torno, will display photos documenting years of portraits and performances by the Grateful Dead.

Mark Dethrow before a grid of multiple David Bowie portraits for Sound and Vision show
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
Mark Dethrow before a grid of multiple David Bowie portraits.

Local painter Mark Dethrow is known for his commissioned paintings and portraiture of blues musicians.  For Sound + Vision the artist tapped into his own fandom and turned his attention to rock icon David Bowie, creating 51 portraits reinterpreting classic album covers. Dethrow said he was inspired by the recent Bowie exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art, which connected the British musician’s songs and performances to the art world. He’ll display portraits created from 1989 to this year.

“My earliest memories are me and my brothers listening to records in my parents’ room on the turn table and my mom and dad drawing pictures for me,” said Dethrow. “I just think I just had something instilled in me at a very young age, that love for music and art, and I think that’s just kind of stayed with me.”

Sound and Vision opens tonight with live performances by Eric Hall and Kevin Harris at the Black Box Theatre inside the Kranzberg Arts Center, jazz fusion by Jesse Gannon and The Truth at The Dark Room Wine Bar and a punk show at the Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design.