Friday, February 05, 2010

Gettin' my regular art fix

It's happening! I am now seeing art on a regular basis! Last night I went to First Thursdays in DUMBO to check out a gang of open little galleries. It was a huge variety of things that ranged from abstract paintings to digital projections and tilt-shift photography.

There wasn't as much that I personally thought was great art, but it was just fun to explore, and I joined up with a new (and okay, cute) friend who was really great to converse with about making art and what we liked or didn't like about different types of art. Although, I realized toward the end that we probably missed out on some amazing people-watching, so I will try to take advantage of that next time I go.

We topped off the night with pizza at Grimaldi's (finally!) and a random goth-industrial-electronic music show, at which they played ridiculous 90s dance hits such as "Rhythm is a Dancer" in between bands. Surprisingly the crowd really loved the dance music and bopped around like crazy. I must admit that I got really excited when I recognized an Ace of Base song. Of course, later a girl was dancing and rammed her elbow into my beer bottle as I was drinking. I tried to check if my tooth was chipped by feeling around it but it was already chipped so I couldn't tell! (It was fine, thank goodness)

Someone handed my friend a huge flaming blunt? Or was it a cigar? (I don't know, I'm too straightedge for this) which I dubbed the Hipster Olympic torch. I'm talking awkward '80s frames, sawed-off haircuts and unflattering clothes all over the place. (Also looking around at this crowd made me think I was strangely fat but I didn't really want to be that skinny either.)

Anyway, in the last month I also checked out the Joshua Liner Gallery, the Jonathan Levine Gallery, and the Opera Gallery.

I was not as crazy about the neon surrealist art at Joshua Liner this time; I think it was generally all a bit too flat and the compositions were too scattered for my taste. But I loved the stuff at Jonathan Levine. The first time I went, it was Audrey Kawasaki, who had sold out of all her pieces. She does ethereal sort of erotic and very pretty female figures drawn on wood.

A week later, I returned to the same gallery with my roommate, when she wanted to see Saelee Oh's cut-paper and painted art. There was another painter called Doze Green who did large, colorful paintings that had a mix of various religious symbols and totem-inspired idol imagery. But I was most excited by Josh Keyes' work. Josh Keyes is this amazing surrealist painter who uses realist painting techniques and focuses on ecological themes.

I was admiring one of his immaculate paintings and said, "This guy must be really anal," but I didn't mean it in a bad way. Of course then I realized that he was standing behind me and then I felt like a complete jackass. But I have a feeling he wasn't too worried because I think he was getting lots of attention.

At the Opera Gallery in Soho, there was a theme of subversively cute portraits of cartoonishly giant baby-like heads. Maybe a bit Yoshitomo Nara-esque, but I love that stuff. Kathie Olivas did these rich oil paintings of children dressed in animal-suits, chewing on tentacles, with really lovely layers of highlights. Brandt Peters does these goth-looking vampy caricatures playing with skulls.

And there was an amusing pop artist called Mr. Brainwash who did some enormous Warhol-esque paint/printing over collage of famous faces and posterized images of celebrities formed from cutouts of vinyl records.

But the artist I found to be surprisingly impressive was an artist named John John Jesse. He paints these amazingly intricate and romantic portraits of gorgeous, half-nude punk rock, dangerous looking girls, surrounded by wonderful knickknacks, all rendered in brilliantly sharp focus. And I love how he sometimes used a sort of exaggerated perspective. Plus he uses a complex mix of spray paint, ink and oil on wood, all highlighted in gleaming sparkles. Very mesmerizing and beautifully framed.

The other side effect of all this art and a constantly growing collection of karaoke- enthusiastic friends is that my frequency of drinking has spiked this month. I have learned from my New Year's Eve debacle(s) and at least now I don't get too tipsy. But then again I'm not that young anymore, so I should probably take it easy and get back to some crocheting and learning Chinese on my Nintendo DS like a nice little old lady.

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Anonymous Inferno said...

Wow, love the stuff from Audrey Kawasaki. had never heard of her before, great art.

3:54 PM  

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