Ian Stewart's work is to local art what Iggy Pop's music is to rock and roll. Place yourself in its midst and you'll get a full dose, right in the face.
Stewart's work stands piece by piece extremely well. But when examined in an installation setting, like his current FOUND SOUND exhibit, the experience is loud, raw, and what I might call "peace fest meets cush-violence."
Stewart is at his best when given the space to spread his gasoline mix of collage, found objects, drawings and paintings out in eclectic splashes. When you first view FOUND SOUND in a second-floor hallway at City Arts, you may feel he cheated himself out of far better space in which to show. As you take the exhibit in, you begin to understand the genius he shows in placing the it exactly here. The space is as random and as wonderfully absurd as Stewart's body of work.
Stewart's work may not be made for our eyes, but instead as a wallpaper for his busy brain housing. He may only share it with us to exercise inner spirits or to finally get some sleep.
The many works made of ink, clippings, string, found wood, money, house paint, vintage play blocks and knives is put together in such a way as to convey screams and other primal sounds. The palate is colorful with alternating shades of gold and sepia tone. Men with ski masks. Faces blotted out by pink polka dots. Nails connected by string. Text reading "The Ultimate Secret" and "The story of you and me sung as a sad song.”
There is no way to sell you on seeing this show by describing one or two pieces in detail. I cannot do it justice. You'll have to climb the stairs at City Arts and knock yourself over the head with it on your own. Stewart wants to be your dog. I suggest you let him do it.