Covers on canvas: Albums and artists come together at Mize Gallery

If these walls could talk … they would most likely sing.

That’s the impression given by August’s exhibition at Mize Gallery. Curated as always by gallery owner Chad Mize, Sounds Good is a collection of canvases inspired – sometime directly, sometimes not – by popular album covers.

For the most part, the local and regional artists who’ve contributed to Sounds Good used the 12×12 jacket art – that’s vinyl, kids – along with the music inside as a jumping-off point.

So Sublime’s 40 oz. to Freedom becomes a cartoonish treatise on things amiss in America (as 40 oz. to Freedum) by Derek Donnelly; Ajamu Kojo paints David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane as a Black man with a lightning bolt on his face and a bullet in his chest; Saumitra Chandrayreya’s interpretation of Lady Gaga’s Artpop is an appropriately Andy Warhol-style art pop print.

“We didn’t want any duplicates of the actual artwork,” Mize explains. “We asked the artists to pick their top five albums that they would like to re-interpret. Then we assigned them one of their top five. They usually got their first choice.

“We basically asked that they create their own piece of work that’s inspired by the album cover. I did get a few back that I kind of felt were too similar to the originals, but … each artist is different.”

Mize himself interpreted Moon Safari, the 1998 album by the French electronica duo Air, one of his all-time favorites.

He has a few favorites among the exhibited works. “I loved Andrea Pawlisz’s piece, Beyonce’s Lemonade,” he says. “I thought she’s upped her game a bit, in terms of her technique. And I loved Nancy Cohen’s – she did Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. Her piece looks nothing like the cover. But she was going for a vagina, so she did a piece of fruit. Her interpretation was more the title than any kind of connotation to the original.”

Mize himself conducts a virtual tour of Sounds Good today (Friday, Aug. 7) at 7 p.m. (on Facebook) and 8 p.m. (on Instagram).

The gallery is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (masks required) and by appointment.



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Keara McGraw