In the space right behind the Rumpus Room, was a portal to Anode Gallery. I say portal, in that the installation straddled the line between Portable and Studio space. Functioning as foyer and lounge in the Studio, the actual Anode Gallery is owned by artists and proprietors Ian Bennett and Renee Bennett. Anode has been historically mobile, moving from studio space to home gallery, to satellite space—often across state lines and back again. In addition, this psychedelic hand-made doorway between our exhibit and their gallery allowed us the opportunity to share and move work back and forth between the spaces. From our collaborative set of “Cathode” Musical Chairs, the 32 canvas paint wars exhibit, and some hand-made frames for a few of Erik Stenberg’s paintings in the Rumpus (all of which we’ll dig into later), Anode brought a little vibrancy and excitement to the whole thing.
Ian Bennet is easily one of the greatest living artists, especially considering that he’s gotten to do it twice. He was electrocuted while working power lines, brought back to life by the EMTs, but forgot who Renee was completely due to electricity-induced amnesia. She stuck by him, they fell back in love and the rest is their marvelous story. To say Ian came back to life as a prolific artist is maybe one of the biggest understatements I can muster. Mind-melting paintings, hand-built futuristic wooden clocks, transformable furniture—he kind of does it all and excels in spades. He’s hard to photograph because he’s always in motion. I think he did the complete install for Anode in our space in fifteen minutes, flying up and down ladders much to the panic of the attendant staff of the museum.
Ian works almost exclusively in repurposed materials exuding an ethos that budget doesn’t stop beauty. You’ll see a lot more of Ian and Renee’s beneficence throughout this tour, but for now, please step inside the doorway.