On the top floor of a nondescript, brick-covered warehouse in the Portland neighborhood is a stark white room dotted with 26 images, each about the size of a smartphone screen. Outside the windows, viewers can catch glimpses of the Tim Faulkner Gallery and (if you really crane your neck to the left) Louisville Visual Art.
Welcome to Quappi Projects.
Over the past few years, in the midst of redevelopment, Portland has become home to several well-known city arts organizations and a canvas for numerous public art projects and murals. Quappi Projects, a new gallery operated by John Brooks — a Kentucky-native who recently returned to Louisville after living and studying in London — is the latest to continue the trend.
Brooks says the gallery was named for the early 20th century German painter Max Beckmann’s second wife, Mathilde “Quappi” Beckmann, of whom he painted several portraits.
“They depict the zeitgeist really well,” Brooks says. “And the focus of the gallery is to show work reflective of the zeitgeist.”
The dictionary definition of zeitgeist is “the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate society in a particular period in time.” As such, Quappi’s first show by artist Adam Chuck, “Instant Gratification,” dissects our society’s current relationship with social media.
Chuck has taken images — some more explicit than others — found online and rendered them in paint, presenting them as more figure-study than selfie.
“There are a couple works that are more graphic than others, but they don’t feel salacious,” Brooks says. “They are exposures in a way; it’s a representation of the ways in which people are comfortable sharing themselves, and they are all done in a very sensitive way.”
Brooks says a main purpose of the gallery is to exhibit challenging — even discomforting work as a way to explore and understand the mysteries of the human experience.
“Art, of course, can be entertainment, but I don’t view that as its primary function and I wouldn’t describe myself as an entertainer,” Brooks says. “I’d like to inform, educate, and challenge — and I’d like to be informed, educated, and challenged myself.”
And while Chuck is a Brooklyn-based artist, Brooks says he looks forward to displaying the work of Louisville-based artists as well.
“As an artist I know how difficult it can be to find avenues through which to show work, so I’m thrilled that I can provide that opportunity to other artists,” he says.
More information can be found here.