Do you get it ? I hope you do! Photographed on 11th Avenue near 22nd Street. Art by Balu Naiz.
If you are a fan of Surrealism, Japanese Manga, human bio-mechanical mutants or warped and unfathomably violent animated shows such as Super Jail, then you might want to stop over at the Stux Gallery on West 25th Street to check out Japanese artist Akikazu Iwamoto’s new collection of fantasy paintings entitled Secret Candy.
According to the show’s press release by Lucy Li, “Akikazu creates wildly imaginative, candy-colored paintings and drawings that offer confronting, amusing and sometimes frightening revelations of our inflated inner desires in their most distilled state.”
Some of his paintings reminded me thematically of the wildly imaginative fantasy worlds of Dr. Suess’s Children’s Books.
It’s noteworthy that Akikazu was raised in Hiroshima (where he still lives), in a house just one kilometer away from the Atomic Bomb Dome. The images and artifacts of the Bomb affected him greatly during his childhood.
The main thrust for his artwork is a general deep-seated sense of wickedness that he believes to exists in every human psyche. Akikazu cites Maurice Utrillo, an early 20 th century painter of emotionally charged Parisian landscapes, as one of his notable inspirations. His works are also influenced by the ethereal colors he witnessed during a trip to Nepal as well as the works of American painter Aaron Johnson and Canadian Marcel Dzama.
His visions take place in a comprehensive atmosphere free from the restrictions of reality, where violently mutated creatures, detached body parts and nondescript organic forms are rendered masterfully, contending an inherent connection between violence and innocence.
These paintings are all fairly large in size and look much cooler in person than in photographs. If Secret Candy seems like your thing I encourage you to visit this exhibit before it’s over, which is always sooner than you think.
One of our favorite Galleries in the Chelsea Arts District, Joshua Liner, has just moved from an upper floor at 540 West 28th Street to a 2,600-square-foot street level exhibition space that completely transforms the environmental aesthetic of the gallery. To celebrate the move, Joshua Liner is currently presenting Direct Address, an inaugural group exhibition featuring works in diverse media by longtime gallery figures as well as new additions to the program. Participants include the following artists:
Alfred Steiner, Clayton Brothers, Cleon Peterson, Dave Kinsey, David Ellis, Evan Hecox, Greg Lamarche, Ian Francis, Jean-Pierre Roy, Kris Kuksi, Oliver Vernon, Pema Rinzin, Richard Colman, Riusuke Fukahori, Shawn Barber, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Tiffany Bozic, Tomokazu Matsuyama and Tony Curanaj.
While I missed last week’s opening reception, I did drop by to see the show early last evening and was blown away not only by the gorgeous new space, but also by the fantastic artworks; some by artists I have come to know well through the Liner gallery, and other artists whose work I was seeing for the first time.
Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:
What you see here is neither real fish nor real water, but a micro-layered acrylic painting by Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori, which is viewed as a solid object. Pretty cool!
This kinetic sculpture/chandelier by David Ellis is equipped with motors as well as recorded music, so that it plays various original instrumental pieces at random, accompanied by the tinkling or clinking of the bottles and other suspended pieces of the sculpture. Gallery assistant Lizzie told me that Ellis will have a full gallery show in September, so I will be looking forward to checking that out.
We’ve seen a fun show by former-sign-painter-turned-graphic-artist Stephen Powers at Liner just this past summer and his work is colorful and full of dry humor.
Ah, Kris Kuksi: He is just the best. Check out a detail of this insane work below.
You could look at just one of Kuksi’s worlds within worlds sculptures for weeks and never see everything.
The Joshua Liner show has one of Jean-Pierre Roy’s paintings of futuristic, urban dystopia. His work is always thought provoking.
The Clayton Brothers have contributed a dozen works to this show, which are mostly clustered in a row along the front of the gallery’s main desk. Here is a close up of two panels from this series, which is called Reality Waits for Natural Light. These paintings reminded me a bit of Brazilian street artists, Os Gemeos.
Street artist SWOON contributed this nice piece.
I’m not sure who the artist of this painting is, but I liked that I was able to guess the title just from observing the contents of the picture.
Direct Address: An Inaugural Group Exhibition will be on Exhibit Through April 20th, 2013 at Joshua Liner Gallery, Located at 540 West 28th Street. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.