The piles of incomplete paintings, drawings, prints and other works that occupy the corners of Charles Gills massive studio sometimes whisper to the artist.
They speak of abandoned ideas and half-realized creative schemes that now inhabit a limbo housed in the back of his imagination. Theyre not in progress, yet theyre always in play.
My studio is the mother lode of unfinished art. You try to keep them in a place where you can get back to them, but they pile up and finally they clog up your psyche and you have to call Roto-Rooter to clear it out.
Gill is one of 19 artists featured in Unfinished, an exhibit of incomplete work at the Linen Building.
Curators Amy OBrien of the Art Space in Eagle, and Eli Craven and Maria Chavez of Black Hunger Gallery, collaborated on the show after someone made an offhand comment: I have so much unfinished work it could fill a gallery.
Now it will.
The idea is so intriguing, Gill said. Everythings unfinished. Life is unfinished. For me, any work even if its signed or has been exhibited if its still in the studio, its in play.
Some of this work might not look unfinished at first blush because every artist defines unfinished differently.
Work gets abandoned when a new idea comes along or when the medium doesnt play out.
Some work is never meant to be finished, said Chavez, an artist and architect who has several pieces in the show. Some ideas are not meant to be resolved.
Chavez will show several study models she created in 2007 out of wool, wire and 3D prints. Theyve been the basis for everything from sculptures to architectural details to buildings over the years and they are deliberately left unfinished.
Im not as interested in looking at art as I am in experiencing it, so whether its finished or not, is less important.
Unfinished work shines a light into each artists creative process because the idea of unfinished is inextricably tied to its opposite. To know one is to know the other.
For me, a work is finished when it gets to a point where Im surprised by it, Gill said. Im trying to create something Ive never seen before.
Kelly Packer works with multiple layers of acrylic paint or oil stick and pastels. It might be difficult to see if something is unfinished.
Its all relative. For me, a piece is finished when theres nothing left for me to fix, Packer said. But Im the only one who knows what that really means.
With a twinge of discomfort in her voice, she says its difficult for her to put her unfinished work out there.
Its weird. They do weigh on me, she said. I didnt put them up for sale, so that helped.
Bill Lewis let the curators raid his studio for unfinished work, OBrien says.
We found stacks and stacks, she said with a laugh.
Lewis has committed to finish some of his pieces during the shows two- month run.
Viewers can help Troy Passey complete some of his unfinished work.
Passey, who currently has a solo show at the Boise Art Museum, comes up with a phrase or word group that he layers over backgrounds. He will display empty backgrounds, and you can suggest text by writing them on a scroll on the wall.
Dana Oland: 377-6442, Twitter: @IDS_DanaOland