The Magic Message By Jeff Soto (All Photos By Gail)
Can you believe it’s been four years since Jeff Soto’s previous exhibit at Jonathan Levine Gallery? You know who reminded me of that fact? Jeff Soto! So crazy! I had engaged Jeff at the reception for The Sotofish Society, which opened September 10th, to say Hey and tell him how much I loved his Oreo Cookie Subway Ad (praise which he graciously received), and comment on my excitement that he has continued to incorporate favorite identifying motifs from Decay and Overgrowth in this new body of work, and he was like, “That was four years ago.” Point: it seemed much more recent to me. Anyway, Jeff is a super nice guy who will take the time to have a personal conversation with fans at his shows, and his wife Jennifer is also very nice. Jeff Soto!
This new exhibit, The Sotofish Society does, in fact, include paintings and drawings that reinterpret elements of Soto’s work. Viewing the series as a rebirth, the artist continues to transplant viewers to an alternate universe, while going back to his roots and evolving iconic characters, such as yetis, reapers, robots and the Sotofish. As Jeff explains, “I always feel like an artist’s entire body of work should be fair game to use. My cast of characters and the worlds I create are The Sotofish Society.”
Soto depicts friendly creatures and personifications of earth’s forces that thrive in a dystopian environment plagued by the complexities of modern living. These otherworldly creatures roam the surreal landscape and are surrounded by overgrown greenery, deteriorating technology and overall societal decay. However, Soto’s use of vibrant colors and organic shapes evoke a sense of hope and effort to revitalize, communicating themes of family, nature, life, and death.
For this exhibition the artist focused on creating work based on instinct and emotion, resulting in dynamic paintings with many layers, silhouettes and design elements.
Along with acrylic compositions on wood and paper, The Sotofish Society includes a selection of watercolors, which are rarely exhibited, as well as limited edition relief prints. By merging a refined selection of graffiti and mixed media techniques, Jeff Soto continues to bridge the gap between street art and pop surrealism.
Jeff Soto’s The Sotofish Society will be on Exhibit Through October 8th, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located 529 West 20th Street, 9th Flor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.