BravinLee programs is pleased to present “Viper Kingdom” an exhibition of new paintings and an animation by Laura Krifka. Krifka, twenty-seven, lives and works in Southern California, this is her first one-person exhibition in New York.
Krifka’s layered psychological paintings are rendered as if they were a mutation of 18th and 19th century classical painting. Her subjects seem drawn from a sexually charged musical set in the American West frontier. In an artist statement from 2011, Krifka wrote, “I am fascinated by the seduction and terror of American mythology and its relationship to the sublime, as well as how the after-shocks of manifest destiny influence our perception of ourselves.”
Priscilla Frank wrote in the Huffington Post, “Krifka creates post-modern fairytales for the cynical dreamer. Her feminized landscapes, fetishized religious iconography, and historical surrealism challenge the assumptions that enable their subject matter. And yet, with her lush aesthetic touch, she also indulges in them.”
Krifka writes, “The title of the exhibition ‘Viper Kingdom’, eludes to the story of the garden of Eden. It draws attention to the shows use of martyr imagery, while also referencing the act of temptation, both by the figures in the paintings, as well as for the viewers who consume them. I love the idea of an Eden secretly ruled by the viper, a perfect wild and unspoiled wilderness ripe for the plucking, slithering with serpents ready to tempt us to our darker fates.”
In the gallery’s project room Krifka’s looped animation “Sweethearts” will be screened. Coming of age themes are paired with cycles of abuse, victim versus predators, spinning figures and spinning narratives.
Krifka continues, “To be able to lose myself so unselfconsciously in something that all remembrances of propriety and logic are lost entirely in the moment of revelation is extremely appealing. To believe whole-heartedly without doubt would be a wonderful thing. It would be so simple and lovely for the theatrics of it all to be real. But an arrow through the neck is more than a sincere martyr image for me. It is tragic and frightening, but it is also Saturday morning cartoons and childhood make-believe. Even when it is my own punctured neck it is hard to suppress a smile.”
Laura Krifka is an award winning 2010 MFA graduate of UC Santa Barbara. Her work has been shown at Beacon Arts, Inglewood, in an exhibition curated by David Pagel and a solo exhibition at CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2012. ArtInfo.com included Laura Krifka in their round-up of the top 50 artworks to see in Miami Basel 2012.