If you’ve ever pondered what a group of glad rag-clad Poison fans/groupies might look like in the hirsute state, you can satiate your curiosity by visiting artist Erik Mark Sandberg’s latest show, Get Pretty Now, currently on exhibit at NYC’s Jonathan Levine Gallery. The subjects of Sandberg’s drawings – which are undeniably whimsical and very strange – are covered with hair from head to toe (or at least over as much of their bodies as Sandberg lets us see) yet they seem to inhabit a parallel world where hairiness is the norm rather than the exception. These portraits made me consider how often we are all prone to judging a person instantly, based on his or her physical appearance, before getting to know who that person is inside. Also, and quite obviously, the portraits address how the popularized standards of beauty color our perceptions of what is “normal.” Very thought provoking work indeed.
Amid the portraits of hairy mutants, there are also several multicolored abstract graphics which add a rich dimension when set in contrast to the neon-colored outfits worn by most of Sandberg’s subjects. Get Pretty Now includes mixed media paintings, sculpture and works on paper, combining a variety of materials such as resins, enamels, oils, inks, acrylics, digital collage and photographs with various printmaking techniques. The exhibit runs concurrently with Ray Caesar’s A Gentle Kind of Cruelty, giving you twice the impetus to head west to the Levine Gallery at your earliest convenience.
Get Pretty Now Runs through February 19, 2011 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery, located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor (West of 10th Avenue) in New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.