Allegra LaViola Gallery is pleased to present HuskMitNavn and Matthew Craven, a two-person exhibit comprised of paintings, works on paper and installation.
Renowned Danish artist HuskMitNavn first came to prominence with his clever cartoons and outdoor graffiti work, which used the same signature characters as his satirical comic strip. A pervasive black humor and a sense of whimsy characterizes his hybrid animal-man characters, who usually find themselves in paradoxical situations. Subtle enough to let the rest of the work shine, the astute observation of the situations and characters makes HuskMitNavn more than just a clever commentator on modern life.
Matthew Craven’s use of characters comes from those he finds already in the torn pages of books, prints and photographs that he uses to draw on. An attention to rhythm, color and pattern draws us into his hypnotic world as we look for clues in the repeating squares, checks and starbursts. In the larger drawings the effect becomes mesmerizing: we cannot look away from the mosaic as it swirls before us. On the smaller scale, the collages hint at worlds now lost to us- Indian chiefs, Civil War soldiers and the Wild West all make appearances, albeit altered to suit Craven’s purpose. These almost mythological figures are rendered faceless, as if they are criminals whose features are obscured by TV grid patterns. Instead they bear the mark of Craven’s recurring design.
The playful interaction of color and character opens a door to a world that seems candy colored in its brightness, while it belies a darker shift beneath. Everything that is flat and beautiful is not alike in its happy gloss. We have only to peer closer to see beneath the ornament and into the larger picture before us.