Tag Archive | Krampus

Mike Weiss Gallery Presents Stefanie Gutheil’s The Home of Mr. Peeps

Elephant Circus
All Photos By Gail

Mike Weiss Gallery is currently hosting Stefanie Gutheil’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, The Home of Mr. Peeps and it is all kinds of crazy fun. For this show, the Berlin-based artist has delved deep into the recesses of her imagination – back where horned beasts, laser beams, onesies, a brass marching band, phonographs, multi-talented chickens, the original stooge named Krampus and a giant pink elephant all reside – and emerged with a phantasmagoric stable of characters à la a secularized and hallucinatory version of Noah’s Arc. With this herd of misfit creatures, Gutheil has left normality at the door and transformed the gallery into a sanctuary of the bizarre – a surreal, utopic landscape of chromatic and psychological vibrancy.

Asian Cat

With all their quirks and foibles in plain sight, the artist’s fantastical creatures appear to us as friends and intimates. In fact, it is precisely because of the alluring, almost childlike honesty inherent in the figures unabashed eccentricities that connection with the works is nearly inevitable. Yet there is more to these characters than their carnivalesque appearance; in each, Gutheil has instilled an emotional gravity that seems both personally derived and universally comprehensible.

Animal Onesies

Sometimes the sentiment is uplifting – for example in A Walk in the Forest, where we find two cronies strutting with emoticon-worthy smiles strewn across their faces.  Other times, the mood isn’t always so chummy.  In Safe Bet, it is impossible to say with certainty whether the winged yet dense-looking humanoid is falling down or flying upward, if it has walked the plank by force or leapt from the diving board by choice.

Aardvarks

In their peculiar features and with their hearts on their sleeves, Gutheil’s oddballs all emit a vaguely familiar sense of the folkloric, as if the artist unraveled them from traditional fables and stitched together her own.  The horned, anthropomorphic, anti-Santa Claus fictional beast of German-Austrian descent named Krampus, for example, seems to make an appearance in multiple works. Instead of a facsimile representation, though, Gutheil has flipped the idea of Krampus on its head­ – in one work it walks a man-carrying pig and in another it nonchalantly strolls through the forest with a friend – by stripping it of its menace and making it comical.

Shadow

Yet in her fairytales, Gutheil has not set a narrative.  Instead, she provides all the raw, jumbled materials – the characters, the costumes, the emotions, and the stage – and leaves us to imagine our own farfetched tales, whether somberly retrospective or curiously, whimsically, and optimistically infantile.

Pig

Stefanie Gutheil’s  The Home of Mr. Peeps will be on Exhibit Through January 30th, 2016 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Gallery View

Signage

Must See Art: Travis Louie’s Strange Myths at the Joshua Liner Gallery


Krampus Mugshot By Travis Louie

If you like your contemporary art on the surreal side with an added twist of the freakish, then you’ll want to make a trip over to the Joshua Liner Gallery on West 28th Street to have your mind blown away by one of their current exhibits, Strange Myths, featuring the work of Queen’s born artist Travis Louie. Here’s what the gallery’s website has to say about this unique and highly compelling exhibit:

Louie’s acrylic-on-panel paintings are whimsical portraits of bizarre beings, most of them inspired by a youthful fascination with “Atomic Age” sci-fi and horror movies, circus sideshows, and Vaudeville magic acts. Richly rendered in black and white with fine shading, the work is also influenced by the lighting and atmosphere of German Expressionist and Film Noir motion pictures.

With Curious Myths, a suite of 15 new, small-to medium-sized works, Louie has directed his lively journal practice of tiny drawings and narrative vignettes toward the creation of a cohesive, imaginary world styled with Victorian and Edwardian effects. This fictive zone is both cozy and creepy, inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters that have seemingly posed for formal portraits to mark both their existence and place in society. Each image/character is uniquely loaded with ungainly charm and ample backstory. The underlying thread connecting the characters is the unusual circumstances that shape them and how they’ve lived.”

This Dude Was My Favorite

Geoffrey (G’s review, with more photos, up now at this link) and I had a chance to meet Travis at the opening and he was gracious enough to sign the show’s promotional post card for us. Very cool! I also just picked up a copy of his book, Curiosities, on Amazon.com, which continues the story of many of the characters featured in this exhibit. Read more about Louie and check out his portfolio at his official website, Travis Louie Dot Com.

Travis Louie’s Curious Myths runs through August 7, 2010 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, 548 West 28th Street, 3rd Floor (between 10th and 11th Avenues) New York, NY 10001. Do not miss it!