Friday, August 12, 2011
Paintings by Mr. Christian & The Importance of Tactile Art
I really love Art Objects. You know--stuff that makes you want to run your fingers across the surface or feel the weight of the thing in your hand. I'm no Art Scientist, but I'd venture that part of the runaway success of the just-closed Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was due to the fact that the clothing and accessories on display possessed a magnetic tangible quality missing in a Photoshop world. Having seen the show twice, I can attest to the fact that it was by sheer dint of will that I didn't sneak a fondle of a leathery or be-feathered masterwork of couture.
Seeing paintings up close & personal makes you realize that these objects possess the same tactile gravity. Paint is more than just colors to put up next to one another to make a picture--depending on application, the gloss and texture have an impact on the finished work.
The recent Crazy Monsters Art Show at TT-Underground Gallery in the East Village had some pretty amazing work on display by such monster-making luminaries as Gary Pullin and Steve Blickenstaff, spanning a range of digital, drawn, sculpted and painted creature creations. My favorite pieces in the show were by an artist whose work was new to me: the portrait work of Mr. Christian.
Mr. Christian's work has the wit of the pop surrealist/lowbrow movement combined with a translucently layered, glossy paint application. His subjects include counterculture icons like Crispin Glover and Lemmy, and his painstaking brushwork captures the finest details of hair, cloth and skin. Each piece is displayed in a frame of the artist's creation, customized with weathering, rusty nails, and other sculpted-on elements. The final result of this work is a painting that's so utterly touchable, I want a gold star on my karmic chart for NOT fondling his work when I viewed it.
Mr. Christian's unique style, macabre humor and technical skill make him an artist to watch. I know I'm looking forward to seeing what he has up his enigmatic sleeve!
For more info on Mr. Christian's work, check out his website here. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming convention appearances and prints!