When you walk into the OneWay Gallery on Boon Street in Narragansett, there is a miniature handmade drone affixed to a sky-blue ceiling. “Fear of the clear blue sky,” explained artist Scott Moran. “It’s supposed to instill some fear of your world.”
On a nearby wall is a collage featuring Grace Jones, on another Angela Davis. Another wall features a nude self-portrait of artist Jess Cabral. “I wanted to do something really vulnerable and really raw,” she said. “This is speaking to a lot of uncomfortable realizations I’ve had recently, especially in political spheres.”
There’s a Planned Parenthood-styled t-shirt, that says “pence” upside-down, and an oversized key with a pile of what looks like, but isn’t, cocaine. One entire wall is painted to look like the iconic Hollywood sign landscape in Los Angeles, but says “Government” instead.
“It’s a play on Hollywood Hills and how the government has become a reality TV show,” said Providence artist Tom West. “It’s a shit show and everyone just has to talk about it all the time.”
The OneWay show – featuring the works of Moran, Cabral and West – is called “Nothing To See Here” and it runs through April. There’s an opening on Saturday, from 5 to 8pm.
It’s an overtly political art show, even if the artists are loath to admit it.
“I feel like that’s limiting,” said Cabral. West, a veteran so turned off by politics he’s stopped voting, scoffed at the idea that it was anti-Trump, or resistance art. “That’s selling into the beast, you can’t do that.”
Moran, the curator of the show, didn’t mind the correlation. “You’re going to see a lot of people get active with their art,” he said. “From the protest sign to the instillation piece, everybody’s got something to say.”
Cabral, who has a studio at OneWay, took on the right-wing smear about liberal snowflakes with one installation that covers a garage door left over from when the gallery was an auto shop.
“I haven’t counted them all but we’re thinking roughly, base line, a thousand,” she said. “I want the viewer to feel almost protected and awestruck by the gentle nature of the snow. It’s so much easier and more comfortable for people to lump people into these boxes but it’s also really dangerous and destructive so I just want to appreciate the individuality and uniqueness of every person’s story.”
West’s “Hasta La Vista, Baby” depicts a pregnant Mexican woman running from the border. There is a hole in the plywood painting where the fetus’ head should be.
“It’s a head in a hole painting, you’re supposed to put your head in it,” he said. “Do you want to put your head in that? Is that okay? It’s a Mexican woman being deported who possibly wants her baby to stay.”
Moran’s “Migration” is the largest installation of the show. It fills the floor of a huge room and is a plastic mold of footprints through mud.
“There are 65 plus million people roaming the planet who are insecure and need help and need to be seen as human,” he said. “Due to climate change and sea level rise we’re going to see erosion of coastlines and the sinking of cities it’s going to institute a huge displacement. How are we going to deal with that if we can’t deal with the current trend?”
I didn’t know. I didn’t even know how he was going to deal with his massive floor-covering installation once the show closed.
“We’re planning to smash it up and give away pieces of it,” Moran said.