Featuring: Aaron Baker, Erik Bluhm, Martha Colburn, Carl D’Alvia, Edward del Rosario, Echo Eggebrecht, Joel Gibb, Brent Green, Kirk Hayes, Asuka Ohsawa, Ruby Osorio, Hills Snyder, and Rachell Sumpter.
The gallery is pleased to announce the group exhibition Tenderly, which assembles paintings, sculptures, films, and works on paper by twelve artists who use dark humor, animation, simplified forms, and characters to soften some of life’s more dramatic, and often tragic, moments.
Erik Bluhm’s (Los Angeles, CA) work explores the mysterious and slightly sinister facet of intentional communities and creative collectives. As a founder of The West Coast New Energy Encounter Group, the artist often employs performance, sculpture, and here; collages, constructed from small, curved edge, colored pieces of vintage books and magazines to reveal intriguing, quasi-spiritual forms embedded with coded meaning and nostalgia for the era of idealism.
Using collage and found footage, Martha Colburn (Brooklyn, NY & Amsterdam) creates noisy portraits of our most simultaneously dreadful and beautiful desires (cholesterol-ridden food, alcohol, smoking, and a bit of sex too) to create a world where every image is in constant flux, shifting from glorious, colorful stability to scratchy, flickering cacophony all in a matter of micro-seconds.
Carl D’Alvia’s (New York, NY) sculptures explore the absurd, the tender, and the nature of contradiction. Calf, a bronze from 2007 represents a young animal covered completely in carefully rendered hair. Residing somewhere between toy design and the Baroque, D’Alvia’s encapsulates seemingly antithetical motifs such as minimal/ornate, industrial/handmade, comic/tragic, progress/destruction and attraction/repulsion.
Eddie del Rosario’s (Brooklyn, NY) paintings often feature miniature people engaged in full-size power struggles and highlight the absurd games people are willing to play to obtain and preserve power within cultural clashes. Meticulously rendered with almost Renaissance-like glazes, his most recent series of contretemps depict unforeseen disruptive events, for example, a handsome young man pissing on the spring flowers while a fashionable young lady looks on.
The oil on panel paintings of Echo Eggebrecht (Brooklyn, NY) employ a wealth of source material, including handmade models, tattered paperbacks, and Modernist furniture that woven together create eerie, vacant invented spaces. Meticulously rendered symbols, rooted in Americana, are combined with painterly passages, suggesting a psychological space that is both fantastical and real.
In Joel Gibb’s (Toronto, ON & Berlin) world, some of life’s darkest moments are tenderized with a gentle touch. His felt banners, collages, watercolors, videos, and of course songs, somehow manage to soften and even celebrate death, disease, and doom. Emblematic and striking, images of skulls, penis-daggers, and gravestones seem to arise from a song or, as the artist describes the relationship between his works of art and music: “words become shapes and shapes become melodies.” Conflating Pop, Folk, and religious tradition with influences from General Idea to Hugo Ball, Gibb’s cross-disciplinary oeuvre conveys notions about politics, pleasure, mortality, and love.
An animated-film maker, Brent Green’s (Philadelphia, PA) work uses the beauty of detritus and the hand-made to create anxiously of dystophic worlds inspired by his own family history. Reminiscent of early Walt Disney, Green’s scenes present a melancholy that is brought forth from fantasy and human pathos. In Susa’s Red Ears from 2002; “A little girl with a fire truck in her head on the day the sun explodes saves herself, and very little else.”
Kirk Hayes (Fort Worth, TX) oil on signboard paintings present themselves as collages of torn paper and cardboard on plywood or metal supports, and the trompe l’oeil effects are so convincing that many viewers leave his exhibition assuming that is just what they have seen. His often humorous tableaux are populated by characters that obey the rules of modernist assemblage; we easily read their roughly “torn” components as arms, legs, bodies and heads, or in this case; The A-Bomb.
Asuka Ohsawa’s (Brooklyn, NY) work dismantles the tendency to view animals as “cute” in order to examine some of humanity’s darker impulses. Also building upon the legacy of the Japanese giga, which literally means “humorous picture” (a style of painting that used seemingly comical images) the artist represents such scenes as animals engaged in human activities, to inform an often politically motivated satire. Much like the giga, Ohsawa’s unadorned graphic technique belies the tension of her drawings, in which social issues are articulated through the strange fables of humanlike animals that exhibit cross-cultural and inter-species distrust.
Ruby Osorio (Los Angeles, CA) employs delicate lines and patterns, executed in gouache and ink to present female stereotypes in fantastic scenarios. Often entangling the viewer in a surreal narrative of their own unraveling, the artist’s female characters suggest the complex, beguiling, and indefinable nature of femininity. In Ravens, 2008, two birds are perched over two ambiguous female figures, which seem to be anticipating a new frontier or sorts – psychological or otherwise.
Hills Snyder’s (San Antonio, TX) Everybody Has One assembles four images of vulnerability or weakness from Disney animated films: Pinocchio’s nose, Dumbo’s ears, the poison apple which put Snow White to sleep and the cape of the Headless Horseman which renders him visible. The images, though framed separately, are unified under a single smiley face image cut through plexiglas. Thus the usual protective surface of the drawings renders them “accessible” rather than at the usual gallery remove.
Rachel Sumpter (San Francisco, CA) investigates inherent ironies in our society and the duality of the human condition. In her paintings, she projects how these two aspects of life manifest in humankind’s various relationships. Throughout her work, Sumpter employs both conventional and surreal archetypes to explore the humorous ironies resulting from a disjointed relationship between implied cultural norms and reality. Inspired by accepted popular dogmas, ethics, history, and their inherently ephemeral qualities, she shows the focused dialogue between her delicately painted subjects and the benign irreverent universe they have created.