Review: Insert Coin To Play at Stutz Art Space 

click to enlarge Drew Etienne, 'Cold Future,' from 'Insert Coin To Play' at Stutz Art Space
  • Drew Etienne, 'Cold Future,' from 'Insert Coin To Play' at Stutz Art Space

The theme of this Spirit & Place Festival-tied exhibition is video games and their influence on artists and art. And in the world of video gaming, no characters are more iconic than the Super Mario Brothers. Jason Rowland pays homage to the Bros, convincingly depicting the face of Mario, with his spray paint on wood "Warp Zones," which is composed on three different levels of wood, raised one above the other to mimic the levels to be found in the game. Drew Etienne's painting "Cold Future" (acrylic, ink & pencil on canvas) also echoes the Mario games with its odd yet geometrically- shaped blocks floating under a yellowish sky. The painting seems to portray the future as something unattainable (unless you have the jumping powers of a Mario or Luigi).

A number of the pieces in this Andy Chen-curated show are digitally created works of art, such as the luminous "Taotie City" by Matt Williamson. The argument is also made here, by its inclusion of Esteban Garcia's "BT Corn Game," that video games are works of art that can be appreciated equally in an arcade or a gallery setting. The protagonist in this video game is an ear of genetically-modified corn with legs that you can lead, by way of joystick, from a cornfield, past various agricultural buildings, and toward the distant horizon and whatever lays beyond. This is a review of the show's preview; don't miss the opening and subsequent panel discussion on Nov. 9. Open Thu and Fri through Nov. 30 at Stutz Art Space

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