When Your Gravity Fails and Negativity Don’t Pull You Through, or, Good Medicine for Bad Vibes

In The Menu, Visual Arts by Danny BrodyLeave a Comment

Ever walk into an art gallery and felt harmony, serenity, and the presence of a strong force for good? At Paradigm Gallery, artists Dennis McNett and Alex Yanes, with their allegorical totems and spiritual adumbrations, hope to envelop viewers in the warmth of their mellow vibes, through the medium of the collective unconscious. A number of the pieces are in fact collaborations between the two artists, an exploration of the spiritual duality of their awareness.


Pissed Off Skull, 2018, wheatpaste, spray enamel on hand-cut wood, Yanes & McNett IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

“One thing that I noticed right off when I first met Alex Yanes,” said Dennis McNett, “was that we work very similarly, in that we’re both pretty blue collar about the way that we approach things, like we’re both pretty spontaneous, but also know how to use construction tools because we both grew up around building skateboard ramps. We know how to put things together. So I think that some of our upbringing was very similar.

Pissed Off Snake, 2018, wheatpaste, spray enamel on hand-cut wood, Yanes & McNett IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

And when we talked about doing the show we threw a couple ideas back and forth and I pitched the idea of calling it ‘Good Medicine‘ with the idea that, looking at the state of things right now, like if you turn on the news or social media of any kind, you just see this constant bombardment of negative stuff. And we’d like to give everybody a change of perspective.” Anyone capable of advancing that groovy harmony, according to McNett’s understanding of old or aboriginal cultures, carries “good medicine”.

Kinetic Fenris, woodcut print, wheatpaste on wood, Dennis McNett, IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

Big Mary’s Resurrection, woodcarving and acrylic, Dennis McNett, IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

While McNett focuses on large-scale, mostly brooding, wood sculptures, often inspired by meditation and his spiritual practice, Yanes’s work is infused with the colors and pastiche of Miami, his hometown. His background in graphic design, as well as the skateboard ethic that he shares with McNett, suffuse his work with a bold yet mysterious dynamic, both playful and deliberate.

King Tide (front view), acrylic, spray enamel, fabric, epoxy resin on hand-cut wood, Alex Yanes IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

Crankbait, acrylic, spray enamel, epoxy resin on hand-cut wood, Alex Yanes, IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

Owl Spirit IV, woodcarving, acrylic, epoxy, woodcut prints, Dennis McNett, IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

There is a considerable joy that comes from experiencing these works-the intentions of both artists are genuinely present. And as the harsh reality of today’s crisis-of-the-moment culture continues to spread sickness, spiritual or otherwise, then perhaps Good Medicine just might be the cure.

(left) Alex Yanes, Past the Breaker, 38” high X 26” wide X 9” deep Acrylic, spray enamel & epoxy resin on hand cut wood & aluminum paint gallons (right) Dennis McNett, Raven Medicine, 2017, woodcarving, acrylic, 43” x 24” x 6.75” IMAGE COURTESY: Jason Chen

Good Medicine will be on view from May 25 – July 21, 2018
Paradigm Gallery
746 S 4th St Philadelphia, PA 19147



Danny Brody is the author of The Cold Shake (2018), a noir novel of ‘70’s New York, and The Gilded Palace of Sin (2008), a collection of poems. He created the seminal Miami food blog, Daily Cocaine, penned numerous food, wine, and booze columns for the Miami Herald, and wrote The Art of Hunger column for MAP Magazine. He has also written art, design, and architecture pieces for Modern Luxury Magazine, Design District Magazine, Social Affairs, and Art New Orleans. He lives in the South Bronx.

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