May *8*th - 26th
117 East 24th steeet, Second Floor
New York City
By Appointment Only, 4pm - 7pm
We live in a nightmarish culture where strife isn’t a novel concept, even to the most privileged of us. But in recent months, strife seems to have developed a larger-than-life presence. Just over a year ago, the symbolic gates of hell opened into inexplicable chaos that has stuck to us, a beast that’s impossible to tame. We live in a new world.
The response by artists to this is what interests me most. My curatorial reaction aligns with their confusion and mistrust, a need to understand more. Like with a sideshow performance, we get caught up in what’s impossible to understand: We’re fascinated by it. Through the past year of our lives, the same has occurred. And we’ve found ourselves in a Fun Haus.
Fun Haus is an exhibition of work by Combs, @chomberton, and emerging artists from New York City, members of the Solas Studio community whose work aesthetically comments on the state of our cultural landscape with a critical eye, synthesizing topical commentaries with surreal, disorienting and other-worldly imagery. Solas Studio artists included in the exhibition are Elaine Chao, Hannah Witner, Orlando Saverino-Loeb, Taylor Gaertner and Sia Serafina.
Combs is an artist with a history of producing his “Quarantine Creeps” series over the past year: delightfully jarring 10x10” wood panels with characters hailing from outer space, the underground or beneath the garbage can. They come from the underbelly. The characters portrayed as creepers suit the personalities and behaviors exposed during the past year of our existences. They viscerally take note of the unnatural qualities of our lives that we’ve now been forced to familiarize ourselves with. The characters in his work, although seemingly foreign, are us.
The works in the exhibition display bold and intriguing content that speaks on the turmoil of the past year. The works depict aliens, both literally and figuratively, imaginary landscapes and distortions of both reality and the human form.
Much of the work brings to mind the surrealist movement where artists such as Dalí, Man Ray, Khalo and de Chirico (among others) showed us what they were able to see lying beneath the surface. Like these legendary artists, the artists in this exhibition don’t contain chaos: they instead choose to unearth, interpret and beautifully present their findings. Through their acts, we see things in a new light. And thus, we use art to disrupt the chaos.
“Everything has two aspects: the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men can see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance... A work of art must narrate something that does not appear within its outline.”—Giorgio de Chirico