Theodore:Art is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Scooter LaForge and Christopher Moss.
These two artists create artworks that acknowledge art historical precedents through the prism of personal obsession. Neither Moss nor LaForge are ‘outsider’ artists, but their respective practices place their oeuvres outside of critical fashion. If painting in an unpopular idiom is a kind of social protest, then both artists’ works could be construed as statements of protest.
In Scooter LaForge’s paintings, the wonderful evolves from the commonplace, and elements of dreams, both fantastic and frightful, emerge into the light of day. LaForge presents uncanny dislocations from the ordinary into realms of glamour and danger, revealing the surreal within the visceral banality of the real. The paintings illustrate the adventurous subconscious experience of his bewildered protagonists as recontextualized fairy tales. Fantasy elements—the witch, the ghost, the cat, the hand – serve as LaForge’s narrative dopplegangers. The visual allegories reflect the anxious mismatch between one’s inner life – that of hopes, daydreams, and visions – and the ambiguous allure of the real world.
Christopher Moss paints with a certain kind of honesty, in a flatfooted narrative approach to art making. Seventy square paintings repeat the reductive form of a face in varied hues, settings and textures. The avatar – two dots and an line – is the ubiquitous lowest-common-denominator visual representation of the individual in cyberspace. There is a kind of anthropomorphization in the viewer’s perception of simple graphic shapes that typifies the best and worst tendencies of humankind, the entire spectrum of personality traits. As remnants of the social media landscape, or even just our social landscape, it’s not too hard to imagine these could exist outside computer technology, totems for some other purpose.