The 5th Avenue and 59th Street Subway Stop of the N, Q and R Trains lets you off just few blocks from the entrance to the Central Park Zoo, and you can enjoy a bit of urban safari even before you exit the station which features a collection of colorful tile mosaic murals of various animals that you might find in the zoo or in and around the park. Check out this family of monkeys!
El Gato Chimney is a fantastic, Milan-based surrealist whose compelling work I doubt I would have come to know and love so well if it weren’t for the Stephen Romano Gallery, which has lovingly featured El Gato’s work in each of their eclectic group shows.
Currently, the Romano Gallery is hosting De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), a show dedicated entirely to this young artist’s exciting work.
The artwork of De Rerum Natura is accompanied by a high quality catalog, which includes several intriguing and extremely insightful essays, one of which is by fellow surrealist Martin Wittfooth. By way of introduction to El Gato Chimney’s enigmatic images, I offer a brief but richly descriptive passage from Martin’s essay:
El Gato Chimney’s paintings are a kind of visual alchemy: a unique witch’s brew or shaman’s potion of mysticism, therianthropy (the mythological ability of human beings to metamorphose into animals by means of shapeshifting), mythological and religious symbolism, and visionary fractals.
These works echo the technique and compositions of the naturalist painter John James Audubon, while envisioning a psychedelic menagerie summoned on paper from the often-diabolical nether realms of Hieronymus Bosch. Crowned hydras, chimeras, masked birds and crucified crows inhabit a barren world, wherein sacred hearts, disembodied eyes, mysticist dice, skeleton keys and beehives float above or lie upon the landscape.
El Gato Chimney’s imagination implores us to contemplate our collective symbolical archive, while simultaneously offering alternative allegories and personal readings of these devices.
Here are more pictures from the show!
El Gato Chimney’s De Rerum Natura will be on Exhibit Through April 30th, 2015 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located at 111 Front Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Please note that this will be the final snow at this location before Stephen Romano moves to its new, storefront Gallery space at 145 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn!
Originally, a scene with an insect called the Jitterbug was shot for the movie. It involved a dance sequence with Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow, but was ultimately cut due to time constraints. However, you can still hear a reference to the scene in the movie when the Wicked Witch of the West sends the flying monkeys after the gang. She says,
“Take your army to the Haunted Forest, and bring me that girl and her dog.
Do as you like with the others, but I want her alive and unharmed!
They’ll give you no trouble. I promise you that.
I’ve sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them.
Take special care of those ruby slippers.
I want those most of all. Now fly!”