Sight and sound

by Brian Crean

The first time I met Amy Garland,back in 2003, she worked for SECCAand she introduced me to David Byrne.That’s right, the Talking Heads frontmanwas prepping for an exhibitionright here in the Triad, and I was one ofthe three lucky members of the press tobe granted an interview. Unfortunately, Byrne wasn’t asinteresting as I had hoped. He came offlike just another pretentious conceptualartist who thought that being confusing and weird was reallyhip and deep. Isn’t it funny how pretention and affectationalways seem to mask a lack of substance? (Thank god Byrneis a pretty good musician and songwriter; otherwise myrespect for him would have completely crumbled after theinterview). Anyway, when it was over, Garland, who had arranged thepress schedule that day, was kind and apologized for Byrne’scondescension. And thanks to her, my time didn’t seem like atotal loss after all. She was considerate and well spoken, andshe didn’t mumble and look at the ground while we chatted,like His Royal Talking Highness. In short, she was professionaland honest — just like her Trade Street gallery, 5ive & 40rty.Showcasing the work of emerging artists for the last fouryears, the gallery is one of the true gems on Trade Street. It’sa small, white box that showcases art in the same way NewYork galleries do: Instead of cramming work onto everysquare inch of every wall, paintings and drawings are hungwith plenty of visual space around them — more like a museumand less like a retail store. Garland has also recently partnered with Chris and BlakeLivengood of Ember Audio Video. Specializing in highendsound systems, the identical twin brothers seem like goodpartners and a welcome addition to thegallery. After installing wall panels tosoundproof the room, the brothers nowhave a space that can help them demothe pristine-sounding amps and speakersthey sell. When you enter the gallery, itfeels a bit like one of those old Maxellcassette tape commercials — the onewhen the guy sits in a leather chair in frontof the speakers and his hair gets blownback by the sound. On the walls this month, you can alsoview a new exhibition by a young localartist and graphic designer. Beamer Aston,originally from St. Louis, currently livesin Winston-Salem and has created a nice series of mostlyred and mostly abstract acrylic paintings. Hanging aboveand around the sound systems, and by hinting at wheels andmachinery, they really fi t well and seem strikingly appropriatefor the space. Titled Subjectivity, the exhibition will hanguntil March 27 and is worth a look.Maybe the next time I stop by 5ive & 40rty, I’ll bringmy copy of Stop Making Sense by the Talking Heads andget Chris or Blake to put on “Psycho Killer.” On the otherhand… maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll pick something thatsounds like the way the current paintings feel. Something thatsounds red. A song that moves and spins. !

wanna go?

See the First Friday calendar here