When: Dec. 14-Jan. 2 2015
The titular “us” of LeQuiVive Gallery’s current group show refers to local artists Lauren YS, Bruce Parker, Matt Ritchie, and Patrick O’Connell. The meaning behind the title isn’t explicit, but it invokes an “us” versus “them” dichotomy — not aggressively, but without apology. The group of artists present impeccable works of pop-surrealist and “lowbrow” paintings — to throw a loose net over them — each with a distinct style that calls upon staples of the styles while infusing them with relevance and originality. O’Connell’s work alludes to illustrative traditions most clearly, with a series of portraits of famous drawn characters, such as Roger Rabbit and Popeye, done in an overtly faux-retro style with total referential accuracy. Bruce Parker’s work utilizes a cast of characters seemingly out of the same era, but dipped in radioactive waste and left to mutate and melt. Each piece is bold yet intricate, expertly employs the grey scale to render his globbings of pop symbology. Matt Ritchie’s incredibly detailed and layered work hangs in the center, a series of hand-cut wooden shapes that each encase a tiny wooden amulet painted white and illustrated with ballpoint pen. One is a fish framing a Swiss army knife, just like the one his father gave him, and another is a fighter jet with a replica of the Air Force wings that his grandfather wore. The work of Lauren YS hangs on the opposite wall, appropriately separated for its more villainous aesthetic and loose artistic hand. Her work provides representation for the Japanese anime influence to the artistic genre, with gooey lady-monsters in bold, neon colors. Overall, the show is a roundup of local illustrating heroes worthy of a good, long geek-out.