Art Series IX: Kaliyuga @ QXT’s

NEWARK, NJ—Number nine in the series of art and media exhibitions held every other month at QXT’s, Newark’s iconic underground dance club featured a fascinating array of displays. Curated by multitalented impresario Ben Faresich and his artist partner Nicole Zanetakos, who collectively conduct their operation under the title “Dactsaurylus,” this occurrence, as previously, featured around 13 exhibits with displays of paintings, drawings, videos, electronic music and installations. An artist in her own right, Nicole comes up with a unique theme for each alternate-monthly exhibition based on her wide-ranging knowledge and interests. Ben, a remarkably accomplished photographer, works on developing Nicole’s ideas and helps bring them to fruition.

Many exhibitors were highly accomplished, i.e. attaining a professional level of proficiency. Other works were more raw and amateurish, rich with sincerity and honest ambition. The emphasis, as always, was on surreal, dark—even horrific—imagery. Training among the exhibitors always runs the gamut from those with graduate training in art through those who have never shown their works before to those currently enrolled in art schools.

Repeat exhibitor Charlie Garlette, who runs Bent Nail Studio, displayed some stunning “DieselPunk” installation pieces impressive for their elaborate, electro-mechanical and mysterious nature. Flashing, multicolored lights flickered around the base of a columnar array of metallic constructs, atop of which sat a fluid-filled, illuminated tank containing a biological specimen of god-knows-what creature. Behind and separate from this installation sat a diorama of sorts on a shelf, at its center a creepy bare tree upon which were arrayed true-to-life casts of Charlie’s fingers—eerily lit in dim blue light and set against a background of an electronic board.

Artists came from as far away as Long Island, spectators from as far as Brooklyn. A raffle was held that permitted lucky attendees to leave with artworks that had been generously offered as prizes by the artists. QXT’s was full like I’ve never seen it, although I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortably crowded. A great mix of goth, industrial and New Wave kept the dance floor packed with the frenzied and the enraptured.

Filmmaker Ryan Polukord showed his film Danger Zone, a project he has been working on for two years. He took the time to film some of the artists at the show, and is working on a promo video for QXT’s Art Series. Rob Simscuk (AKA DJ NueMatic) performed his original electronic music, ranging from atmospheric and dark ambient to drum-and-bass for dance.

Look for a recurrence of this event at QXT’s in late May, or better still attend the Dactsaurylus-curated art show scheduled to take place at the easy-to-search Seed Gallery on Market Street in Newark on Saturday, April 26.