gallery's Playground Show, which runs through August 15 and features around twenty playful paintings, photographs, and . . . thingies . . . by U-M grad students. "We wanted to see if we could have fun making art," says Nielsen.
His piece is a little white shelf with a puddle shape sketched on in pencil, under a map showing oceanic drift patterns of an accidental spillage of rubber duckies from a ship full of toys. "My piece is about the Internet," says Nielsen. "About how things come back to you." I ponder this elusive theme as we regard the shelf with its invisible ducky.
Nielsen's shelf should have been painted blue and beducked by now. The whole show is running behind it opened days ago. It's a stroke of luck the incompleteness lets me watch Nielsen and Cashbaugh have fun making art.
Cashbaugh rolls white paint onto a gray background surrounding his big pink flower shape on the wall. Several pictures, flower cutouts, and a man's portrait are tacked onto the flower. "Stop you're done," says Nielsen, surveying the work. "I can't paint over my dad," agrees Cashbaugh. "I think at some point you have to come back and paint the gray again," says Nielsen, adding, "I like how this blob kind of ended up sort of like a kidney shape." "I've been thinking about bodily functions a lot lately," says Cashbaugh, who tacks on a paper that says, in scrawled handwriting, "Ding ding dong."