“Artist” Jack Metcalf brings “A Synthetic Spring” to Missoula, although there is nothing to “necessarily buy”

The last time Jack Metcalf had a show in Savannah, way back in 2010, buyers could quite literally pay whatever they wanted. So someone in theory could have snapped up the forty or so pieces in Maybe Something, Maybe Nothing for a penny. Literally.

But that didn’t happen. The pay-what-you-want system set up a peculiar dialogue between art and buyer — and within the heads of buyers too: “I want that, but I only want to spend this much, but I think that is worth that much, but how much of an asshole will I seem if I only pay this much . . . but I really do want that.”

Jack’s a multimedia artist, but illustration (but of what, exactly?) seems to be at the heart of his work — when it has a heart. He’s a surrealist, a comic fantasist, a mild-mannered iconoclast who — before he was spirited away to the cold of graduate school in Montana — seemed equally at home bartending at Chuck’s on River Street, binding books by hand, meticulously creating his intricate and fanciful drawings (some of which you can see on his website, Fowl Thoughts), and just generally confounding the heck out of people.

So who is this Jack Metcalf, “artist”?

When I co-curated Southern Discomfort: Art Inspired by Flannery O’Connor last year, Jack was one of the first artists I asked to participate. The resulting image — click here — was so strange and evocative that I had to buy it.

And I’m betting that “A Synthetic Spring // an art encounter” will be an unforgettable evening in Missoula later this spring. From the description of the modest $2,500 Kickstarter campaign:

Coming to you April 18th at the Crystal Theatre in Missoula MT.

My intentions are for this project to transcend the visual art exhibition, and blur the line a bit with performance, fashion, philosophy and architecture.

This project is a snowballing collaboration between myself, Jack Metcalf, and fashion designer Hana MT, DJ Kris Moon, choreographer Joy French & the Bare Bait Dance Company, actor Jeff Medley, artist Michael Workman, designer Christine Borchers, poet Jacob Kahn, and a few more to come (maybe even you!)

Our ‘team’ shares the desire to create something precious and rare, an art experience as much as an art object, an experience that can linger and resonate with you, the participant.

It is a mixture of nothing you have seen before and everything you might have seen before.

There’s much more on Kickstarter.

And here’s the video for that campaign:

A Synthetic Spring // Jack Metcalf // Trailer from Michael Workman on Vimeo.

There are some exceptionally good rewards. I’m in for one of the pearl snap button shirts with a hand-printed, six-eyed Canadian snow lynx printed on the back.