While I was at the Arts & Music at Wedgewood/Houston events this past Saturday night, I struck up a conversation with Zack Rafuls about a show of work by Co. H — Rafuls is the art collective’s current chair. Co. H is a student group at Watkins that’s been active since 2011 — fulfilling the wishes of its founders that the collective would continue as student-leaders graduated and handed-over responsibilities to the next young artists in line. Not only is the group going strong, this spring they produced one of the best student shows I’ve seen in this city since I started writing about our visual art scene a decade ago.
Mystic Truths: A Group Show from Co. H and Friends is an ambitious multimedia affair that includes video, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, installation work and sculpture, all responding to the message in Bruce Nauman’s 1967 neon sign piece “The True Artist Helps The World By Revealing Mystic Truths.” Regardless of whether any of the exhibition’s artists actually achieve such a transcendent goal, what’s so striking about the show is how consistently inventive, energetic, smart and well-crafted the work is throughout.
Student shows are nearly always — understandably — erratic affairs, usually featuring notable highlights amongst both courageous failures and the desperate efforts of those students who clearly conceived of and created their work in a panicked all-nighter just prior to the opening reception — always beware of wet paint in a university gallery.
With Mystic, it’s tough to pick favorites, but Caleb Adcock’s digital prints of painterly figures, Casey Payne’s multimedia drawings of deconstructed heads, Weng Tze Yang’s subtly evocative photography display and Luke Weir’s jigsaw puzzle installation are among the most memorable works in the show for me. Other participating artists include Mika Agari, David Anderson, Heather Barrie, Kevin Dietz, Elisha Farahmand, Michael Hampton, Aaron Harper, Blake Holland, Zack Rafuls, Alexine Rioux and Kayla Saito.
Attend the exhibition’s closing reception this Saturday from 6-9 p.m. in Watkins’ Brownlee O. Currey Gallery and brag about having seen the show when you it starts popping up on lists of the year’s best in the coming months.
This post originally appeared on the Nashville Scene’s Country Life blog.