While in the backseat of a car, I misheard one key name in a conversation. In speaking of the heyday of the gangs of New York, my friend described the life and times of Monk Eastman. Over the drone of the standard transmission and the ambient sounds of the streets, I heard the mobster’s name as Monkey Spoon.
This miscommunication reminded me of how often one can misunderstand anything - from the lyrics of a song, to the names of places or people - and how changes can sometimes be more compelling for what these fresh combinations bring to mind. This is the idea behind the exhibition Monkey Spoon - to reveal something new through unusual combinations that expand the awareness of the viewer. The gallery will feature the work of ten artists who paint, sculpt, assemble and photograph.
Joseph (JK5) Aloi is well known in the field of tattoo and toy design. In his paintings and drawings, he uses that same mix of design flair to conjure up a profoundly revealing subject matter. Aloi’s ability to pull from life, his life, with such unprejudiced honesty is a lesson for us all.
Artist/musician Ken Butler is a modern day urban archeologist. Picking from the detritus and debris, he resurrects junk into elegant musical instruments that actually can work, breathing long lost life back into salvaged material.
Peter Drake’s paintings introduce us to an imaginary world of a child through compelling and meticulously executed paintings featuring vintage lead toys. There is a frightening disconnect between these lifesize toy soldiers juxtaposed against the issues of today, reminding us anything can and will happen.
We’ve all had experiences with crayons, but never could we imagine the results Christian Faur has had with the medium. In fact, Faur begins by making thousands of hand cast crayons to create pixel-like interpretations of a face. It is only when the viewer gets closer that they realize that the pixels are actually crayon tips. In using crayons, Faur builds a bridge between adulthood and childhood that we all can share.
The paintings by Dan Hernandez focus on the world of video games, and how an obsession with fantasy can distort reality, past and present. In meticulous detail, Hernandez presents a skewed understanding of violence, religion and mythology, enlightened by popular video gaming culture.
John H. Howard brings a heavy dose of whit and whimsy to the exhibition. What is truly special about the work of Howard is the complexity of the narratives, and how those layers of meaning unfold over time.
The photographs of Kendall Messick capture both the ordinary and extraordinary life of Gordon Brinckle. He shows us a man who secretly lived a life for almost fifty years as a movie house projectionist. With compassion and style in luscious color, Brinckle, as the projectionist, is presented in stark contrast to the banal black and white life he lead in life outside. Like the visionary world in The Wizard of Oz, Messick brings us with impeccable clarity into the magic of a passionate believer.
Lori Nix photographs post-apocalyptic worlds that she painstakingly constructs by hand to warn of the fragility of the world we live in, and the power of nature to reclaim it if we don’t take heed. Nix offers us a glimpse of the future if we continue on our current path.
By adjusting the focal plane of her view camera, Susan Wides offers us a view of our surroundings that appears imaginary. The disorientation created by the distorted focus creates a visceral affect as well, which enhances the strangeness. Like a waking dream, Wides’ photography gives us a glimpse of an in-between world.
Anne LaPrade Seuthe wrote: “At once, Lombardi’s figures draw us in with their formal delights, charm us with their familiar plastic leftovers, disarm us with their rounded limbs and cherubic grins and then, without warning, it is as if these scamps slide up and whisper in our ear that perhaps we just may be fiddling while Rome burns…”