Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gavra Lynn's Downtown Peoria Gallery

 I attended an art and music showcase at Gavra Lynn’s gallery down on Jefferson across from the Civic Center (the storefront that says "Art Show"). The gallery is a great spot to see work by local artists and hear some local musicians; from time to time Gavra has even hosted some local filmmaker’s events.

The gallery is quite large and there are paintings and sculptures all over the place. To keep the gallery running, Gavra hosts benefit events and invites musicians to play and even show their own art work. The admission fee is usually not required but is encouraged as a donation. While the crowd size varied throughout the night there were usually about fifteen people wandering about and eventually settling to hear the next music set. Overall, Gavra had invited ten bands to play over the course of seven hours and the genres involved varied from folk and progressive rock to experimental.

If you weren’t listening to music you were either chatting about the artists or grabbing a beer or some wine from the mini-kitchen. The evening was great but I only watched a handful of bands, I did not plan on attending for all seven hours. I was there to play a quick set with my band and then hang out for a bit to chat with friends. I haven’t really been to this kind of event in the past, but I have seen galleries and concerts. One series of paintings by Anthony Couri has caught my eye every time I have visited Gavra’s gallery.

Anthony has created some interesting works using merlot and cigarette ashes as his media. The red splashes of wine almost look like accidental spills and the black ash marks contrast with the white paper (or canvas) he uses. The pieces almost seem as if the fallout from a late night party has found its way on to an open sketch book sitting on a coffee table. Most of the shapes seem random and organic so it’s quite pleasing to the eye, any tension may be derived from the overall appearance of a spill or a mess needing to be cleaned up. Anthony was present at the event to play some music as well.

Unfortunately I only caught the tail end of Anthony’s music set. His band Gypsy Gypsy Gypsy is labeled “Psychedelic, Trance, Visual” and I could certainly tell this was an appropriate assignment. Anthony sat surrounded by percussion instruments ranging from a small hand drum to a rather small gong cymbal. It was a very trippy mix of shimmering chimes and gong howls all sitting nicely with an electric bass guitar drone. If you’re expecting some catchy hooks or pop lyrics, look elsewhere, this music was truly psychedelic with no discernible structure. It was a nice display of the genre and it would have been very enjoyable to anyone who is into that sort of thing.

Gavra and her gallery are a breath of fresh air for Peoria, and the community she has created is unique. It’s about time downtown Peoria has a nightlife other than a bar. I would suggest a visit to anyone who hasn’t been down there yet.

1 comment:

lbsthecheese said...

Well said! I'm really glad Gavra has brought this sort of venue to the area.