The best way to wrap the skull around "Dadarhea," the absurdist funstravaganza opening at OHWOW this Friday at 8 p.m., is to re-imagine the cult summer camp classic Meatballs, except starring extremely talented creative types rather than nerdy spazzes or mush-brained counselors.
Instead of stacking cups, running potato-sack races, or indulging in hot-dog-eating contests, the denizens of Camp Dada let their minds run amok in a seamless collaboration that boasts everything from a giant kleptomaniac puppet to a disjointed karaoke chorus and a dinghy full of boaters gobbled up during a shark attack.
Arguably the highlight of the slow summer art season and one of the most anticipated events of the year, the freewheeling show features a zany half-hour-long video collaboration featuring a Cecil B. DeMille cast of coconspirators; ephemera from the pint-size epic, including costumes and props used during production; installations; and artwork by the participants.
"It's unusual," says local artist Jim Drain, one of the show's curators. "It's all pretty weird. Not making sense was the absurdist part driving the video and the show.
"Basically, we wanted to bring together a group of artists who share the same sensibilities and inspire each other," Drain continues. "This was like a playground for us. The fun comes through in the work, and everyone involved became very vested in the project that snowballed and got bigger and better once it started rolling."
Others in the "Dadarhea" swarm include Devin Flynn, Naomi Fisher, Ara Peterson, Joe Grillo, Takeshi Murata, Francine Speigel, Melissa Brown, Marie Lorenz, Todd James, Brian Belott, Jessie Gold, Michael Williams, Erin Krause, Alvaro Ilizarbe, Jen Stark, Friends With You, Billy Grant, Laura Grant, Alison Kuo, Eric Fensler, and Bec Stupak of New York's Honeygun Labs, who is editing the video.
Drain likens the collaborative vibe to a creative hive in which the busy artists floated in and out like bees "to pollinate the video" before buzzing off to work on independent projects.
"The whole thing came together in about two months," Drains says of the creative frenzy. "We were very fortunate to work in that regard, because they totally trusted us when we proposed the concept and none of the work existed."
Expect overlapping, illogical, and amusing vignettes as part of the video projection and TV screens scattered throughout the space, with the boob tubes hiccupping the film in altered sequences, Drain says.
Look for a scene in which a bunch of landlubbers stuck on a boat get eaten one by one during a nasty shark attack, or the crazy karaoke interlude where a chorus of 12 to 16 off-key throaty warblers simultaneously belt out different tunes.
Yet another surreal snippet depicts the rampage of a huge, shifty-fingered puppet inside a convenience store. The delinquent doll ransacks several shelves of sundry goods and absconds with bags of loot, leaving Geppetto quaking in shame.
"Everyone enjoyed working together on this," says Drain, who shares with Devin Flynn ringmaster duties for this schizzy event. "Also, Bec Stupak, who is editing the video, has been invaluable," he adds.
"These people are not only brilliant artists, but many of us are friends. We had no idea at the beginning how much fun we were going to have, and it definitely comes across in the work."
During the Second Saturday Wynwood gallery crawl this weekend, graffiti graybeard Miguel Paredes will pop the champagne cork on his eponymous studio, inviting the public for complimentary cocktails at 8 p.m. and an unveiling of his recent series of rainbow-bright works.
The pop art impresario will showcase select pieces and sculptures from collections such as Boroughs, Digital Art, Pop Collages, Urban Dreams, and Los Niños, among others.
Some visitors will instantly recognize his anime-influenced flea-circus characters from Pulgha World, the mural he painted in Wynwood near his freshly squeezed studio.
His latest series, Digital Art, further traces the adventures of the itchy bugger Pulgha romping over a bubblegum-colored world of twittering birds, gamine geishas, and puckish, childlike tricksters that are beguiling if somewhat simple in nature.
Spectators looking to nourish the darker side of the soul can seek solace nearby at the recently minted Curator's Voice Art Projects, operated by indie curator and theoretical egghead Milagros Bello.
She has hung up a show called "Dark Paintings," featuring the neo-romantic musings of Cuban outsider artist Frank Chinea "Pacaso."
The artist tiptoes across the torments of the soul to create gloomy landscapes of diluted figures, wraithlike ghosts, and stormy landscapes in a self-consuming vision of his interior apocalypse.
Faceless, floating figures; smoky mirrors; and doorways to nowhere appear often in his expressionistic canvases. Other pictures evoke a grim miasma of familial disharmony and choking claustrophobia underscored by ominous clouds roiling in from the distance. His works are rendered in contorted brushstrokes and cake-batter-thick impasto and are heavily influenced by the subconscious.
"Pacaso launches angels and demons of an artificial paradise of life and death," Bello says of her discovery. "He digs deep with an excruciating awareness into his psyche and the abyss of his unconscious."
Adds Bello: "We are having a VIP reception this Saturday night for the event, and all the art community is invited." The booze, she says, will be supplied. Visitors need to bring only their own bromides.