Joshua Liner Gallery presents All Types of Characters, a group exhibition curated by arts and culture digest The World’s Best Ever. Showcasing over thirty contemporary artists based in Canada, Denmark, and The United States, the exhibition highlights the presence of characters in each artists’ work and their function as a means to explore identity and ideas of beauty as a social commentary. All Types of Characters will open with a reception on Thursday, June 18, 2015.
Photographer and performance artist Jaimie Warren plays with male and female figures from art history and celebrity culture. Influenced by the pervasive and somewhat bizarre nature of the Internet, Warren’s work is rife with humor and puns:Lasagna Del Rey, Oreoprah, and Chicken Tikka Masalvadore Dali, to name a few. The artist explores strange juxtapositions of celebrity personas and appropriates historical artworks through memes and edited photography sourced from the web. Showing influences of Cindy Sherman, Warren morphs into these renowned characters through the time consuming application of makeup, wigs, body paint, and the creation of DIY props. In Self Portrait as Woman in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, the artist recreates an anonymous rendition of the iconic painting, inserting herself as the central figure. At the core of her investigation is an interest in peoples’ necessity to entertain themselves, resulting in a plethora of strange and humorous memes, and other forms of parodic imagery posted online.
Mark Mulroney’s work combines memories of growing up in a strict Catholic household and his youthful schoolboy fantasies. Splicing cartoon bodies, comic book superhero heads with blood, guts, bulging appendages, genitalia, and enlarged breasts, the figures in Mulroney’s work appear to be Frankenstein creations from the artist’s psyche. These juvenile characters come to represent the younger Mulroney, while simultaneously, their confrontation of violence and sex address the artist’s adult awareness of humanity’s fundamental need to procreate and avoid death.
Taylor McKimens’ work wavers between the worlds of art and illustration. Evoking influences of Robert Crumb and Ivan Albright, McKimens reveals a decaying, messy world where down-and-out derelicts roam barren, polluted landscapes and plants appear to melt into oozing piles of sludge. Despite its dilapidated appearance, the subject of the work is not intended to depress, but rather observe the ordinary aspects of being human that we tend to ignore or refuse to see. By amplifying these imperfect features through vibrant color, psychedelic contrast, and detailed line work, McKimens reveals an un-romanticized view of the world as it is. The artist explains: “All of that stuff is in everybody. People overlook those things because they don’t want to see them, but that stuff is what’s exhilarating to me...for me it’s just fascinating and beautiful in a different way, in a more real way.”
Canadian artist Winnie Truong employs detailed, textured line work and bright color in her large-scale drawings. The artist’s portraits of men and women with peculiar hairstyles and hair growth in unusual places challenge our perceptions of beauty and question what we consider to be normal. Braids flow from cheeks, eyelashes are overgrown, and rivers of hair swallow up mouths and noses. Bordering on exquisite and grotesque, Truong’s surreal portraits are unsettling yet arresting with their floating heads and flowing soft locks.
Also experimenting with surrealist portraiture, Christian Rex van Minnen’s oil paintings evoke influences from the Dutch Masters, Renaissance art, and Surrealism. The artist’s portraits are almost unrecognizable as faces, deformed to such a degree that facial structures disappear and give way to fleshy masses and enlarged growths. Paradoxically, these unsightly characters arouse a mysterious beauty through van Minnen’s classical, photorealistic approach to painting. Ranging from performance art to surrealist oil painting, the artists in All Types of Characters examine the multifaceted function of the character, displaying equally diverse styles, contexts, and interpretations.
Exhibiting artists include Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Andy Jenkins, Andy Rementer, Bill Plympton, Caleb Neelon, Chris DAZE Ellis, Chris Pape, Christian Rex van Minnen, Frohawk Two Feathers, Hiro Kurata, HuskMitNavn, Jaimie Warren, Jason Jagel, Jay Howell, Jeanette Hayes, Jim Houser, Luke Pelletier, Mark Mulroney, Mark Thomas Gibson, Matt Leines, Mel Kadel, Michael Alvarez, Michael Gaughan, Mr. Kiji, Othelo Gervacio, Raina Hamner, Richard Colman, STEEL, Steve Nazar, SUB, Taylor McKimens, Thom Lessner, Timothy Uriah Steele, and Winnie Truong.