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‘Unearthed Archives: Retro Fit’ exhibition open through February at Accrete Art Collective


When visitors step into local artist Danny Bolton’s ‘Unearthed Archives: Retro Fit’ exhibition, he wants them to feel overwhelmed. Bolton said he covered the walls and ceiling in tape, installed a video game booth, and stapled and drew on walls to create an immersive exhibition space unlike many other white-walled galleries. 

Bolton’s exhibition – a collection of his artwork dating back a decade – is free and open to the public every Friday and Saturday of February from 5-9 p.m., as well as on Valentine’s Day.

Bolton, owner and operator of the Accrete Art Collective on Walnut Street, opened the gallery in October 2021. After checking out the former restaurant location with his boss, local realtor Chris Smith, Bolton asked when Smith would let him turn the space into an art gallery – and Smith tossed him the keys. 

Going forward, Bolton said he hopes to continue to create galleries in unoccupied spaces before they’re rented out again. 

Since then, Bolton has curated two exhibitions showcasing almost 30 local artists’ work. This exhibition will be the first that solely features Bolton’s work. It combines years’ worth of his art, from a 7-by-8-foot painting to Post-it note doodles, Bolton said in his Instagram post advertising the exhibition. 

Related: ['Strong Joy' exhibition by local artist is open in City Hall throughout February]

Bolton said he’s enjoyed seeing the connections between his work over the years as he’s displayed it in the space. By curating work from his undergraduate career at University of North Texas alongside his work today, he said it’s been interesting to see how he’s progressed. 

His abstract work is about simplifying and deconstructing art, Bolton said. Using a combination of color, shape and texture, Bolton has burnt canvases with blow torches, or stretched colorful tape and paint across them to create art that is physically irreplicable. He’s fascinated with the act of deteriorating, he said.

“I've just always liked things that are grimy, things that are falling apart, things that nobody wants,” Bolton said. 

Bolton said his post-minimalist approach isn’t about looking inward. Rather, Bolton said his work is just about art as an aesthetic object, without purpose or politics. 

“Art for art’s sake is a really good way that I used to talk about my work, because it doesn’t entirely mean anything,” Bolton said. “I feel like, at some point, art needs to divorce itself from making a statement. It should be an escape.” 

For Accrete’s next steps, Bolton said the collective will move to a location on Second Street during April, May and June. 

Related: [Bloomington Watercolor Society will support Teachers Warehouse in new exhibit]

Local photographer Nikota Brault has worked closely with Bolton and said he’s helped her promote her social media and sell her artwork in the gallery. She said she appreciates Bolton’s work and finds his art intriguing. 

“It just makes you kind of stand there and be sucked in by it,” Brault said. 

Kathryn Coers Rossman, a local photographer who’s exhibited work in Accrete, said the gallery provides something new and underrepresented in the Bloomington art community. 

“Accrete has allowed a group of ragtag renegade artists who maybe haven't been a part of galleries before or exhibited their work previously to all come together and exhibit for the first time,” Rossman said.

Rossman said the gallery is reminiscent of the 1980s experimental, grungy, New York East Village gallery scene that she grew up loving and wishes was still around. 

Rossman said Bolton’s work is a gift to Bloomington. 

“It's something you're never going to see from another gallery here in town,” Rossman said.

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