The Tilt Gallery is tucked away on a stretch of 10th Avenue just north of Grand Avenue that is populated mostly by early 1900s bungalows (many still without proper air conditioning systems). Standing out front, one can see the varied colors and rooftops of Paisley Town, and though it’s just a block away, it seems like a million miles.
The Tilt, with its mangy exterior of funky-colored beams, white brick and ever-glowing accent lights, is the perfect setting for a display of Angela Franks Wells‘ work. In stark contrast, Wells’ prints — all in black, white and copper — mellow the space the likes most art couldn’t. The collection, called “Parts & Labor,” focuses on the dirty, rugged profession of Midwestern tradition: skilled labor.
Raised by a mechanic and a machinist, Wells, who has shot and taught photography in the Valley for years, knows a thing or two about hard labor. And, the aged hands, tattered clothes, oil-slicked furniture and old engine parts depicted here tell the story well. Wells traveled to independent shops of skilled laborers — mechanics, plumbers, welders and construction contractors — in search of these scenes and the tired souls that occupy them. Portrayed in copper-plated photogravure and gelatin silver prints, the testament to hard work comes through in eerie depiction. When you leave the Tilt this Third Friday, you’ll appreciate that beer down the street at the Paisley Violin a bit more.
The Tilt Gallery is located at 919 W. Fillmore St. 602.716.5667. Open 6-9 p.m. Third Friday.