Delicate Demons and Heavenly Delights
Curated by Kamrooz Aram and Jessica Lin Cox
June 10 – July 29, 2005
Reception: Friday, June 10, 6 – 8 pm
Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery is pleased to present Delicate Demons and Heavenly Delights, an exhibition featuring the work of nine artists: Van Hanos, Adam Helms, Min Kim, Paula Kane, Charlene Liu, Tim Lokiec, Ted Mineo, Dane Nester, and William Villalongo.
According to the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, there is a cosmic struggle between a positive and negative force in the universe. The positive force, Ahura Mazda, is the all-powerful, good God as seen in other monotheistic religions. The negative force, Ahriman, is an evil spirit of violence and death, somewhat like Satan, but also responsible for natural disasters, disease and other negative phenomena that are not so easily categorized as “evil”. One can conveniently recall similar themes in pop epics like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, however, Zoroastrian beliefs are much more sophisticated than the binaries found in these fantastic tales, as well as in today’s “evil-doers” and “axis-of-evil” White House rhetoric. The artists in this exhibition demonstrate an awareness of such a conflict without reducing it to simple dualisms. Each in their own way, the works display fantastic worlds ranging from artificially idealistic landscapes to invented faux-historical military portraits.
References to reality are direct, yet manipulated. The realities apparent in these works are purely invented or derived from resources as diverse as video games, heavy metal t-shirts and posters, traditional art, as well as the endless bank of “Google Images”.
Most of these artists work slowly; the works are often meticulous and detailed. There is a focus on drawing rather than painting. The intuitive process of drawing lends itself to improvisational image-making, resulting in such fantastic imagery. Many of these artists “discover” the image after they begin the work. The works in the exhibition range from personal to social, flirting with politics, ethics, sex, the Sublime, mythology and the traditional genres of landscape, portraiture and figuration.