By Shannon Hoyt —
Some artwork, specifically abstract art, rides the fine line between what we perceive as real, and what we perceive as otherworldly.
Riding this line together are artist Karlaya Lee and the indie psychedelic rock band, The Blackshots. On January 30 at 7 p.m., the Raw Deal will be closing an art reception for Lee’s show, Reconfigure, in style.
“I wanted to talk about compositions and how they can change,” said Lee, former University of Wisconsin–Stout graduate. “And how reconfiguration is kind of like that idea.”
Lee’s work reflects a process that breaks down photos that have already been withdrawn, in order to unveil a new perspective. Thus, evading what is viewed as real life.
“I am using pictures that aren’t mine and then putting them inside a collage,” said Lee. “So [the pictures] are already abstracted once, and I am abstracting [them] again.”
While Lee’s work displays a type of complex medium, the indefinite sound resonated by The Blackshots can also be difficult to understand.
“We have trouble telling people what our sound is,” said Evan Peterson, guitarist. “We have just been calling it psychedelic rock because it’s rock music, and it tends to be somewhat kind of spacey and interesting. The indie tag, at least from my point of view, is a little bit less about the established indie rock music, and more the fact that so far what we’ve been doing up until this point is independent DIY [material].”
Confusing? Well, according to band member Miles Adams, who plays a pseudo-classical sound on the keys, indie psychedelic rock simply “cannot be defined.”
Born in a barn, The Blackshots were able to find their sound, an aspect of their art similar to Karlaya Lee’s intangible pieces.
“One of the things that I think that has always been relevant for our sound when writing music, is taking that abstract, spatial, atmosphere sound that [we] were trying to immerse people in and balance that with a kind of recognizable, tactile, down-to-earth format,” said Peterson. “I mean, for me, it’s a blend of the familiar and the unfamiliar.”
The fine line between idealism and realism can be interpreted in both Lee’s and The Blackshots’ work. However, what is shown on the outside may not mirror an artist’s true message.
Lee strives for simplicity in her work. Though, Lee said, “I think sometimes abstraction can be hard for people to grasp right away.”
Taking a similar path, The Blackshots’ work can also be easily misinterpreted.
“If you listen to a lot of the lyrics, it all sounds very depressing and very sad,” said Cole Kampa, drummer. “But, it’s not. I guess if people want to take that sort of [feeling] out of it, that’s more than okay. But, for us, it’s not like that’s where we were coming from.”
“We want [listeners] to take home a piece of our brains. Nonconformity, creativity and abstract nature is how we seem to roll,” said Adams. “We are creating something that can be related to; a feeling, or emotion that can be relayed through a portal we call our instruments.”
The Blackshots will be featuring music from their recently released album, Medullah. The event is free of charge.