April 14- May 1,
Opening Reception April 14, 7PM
There may have been a time when comics were considered a lowbrow cousin to literature and art -- not enough gravitas, a little geeky, a little underground. Not anymore – not when President Obama introduces his nominee to the Supreme Court with an anecdote about how he reluctantly sold his beloved comic book collection. Not when the work of comic book artist Alison Bechdel becomes a wildly popular Broadway musical (Fun Home). Not when museum exhibitions are devoted to comic book artists like Art Spiegelman (the Jewish Museum in 2013) and Chris Ware (Art Institute of Chicago in 2015).
The aesthetics of comics – the energy, the attitude, the bold colors and dynamic narratives, not to mention the drawing, in which evidence of the artist’s idiosyncratic and distinctive hand is clear -- have long been appreciated by artists who embrace those elements in their own work. The seven artists in this exhibition -- Reilly Brown, Simon Fraser, Tetsuo Hasegawa, David Klein, Ellen Lindner, Tiggy Ticehurst, and Demetrios Zissiadis – represent the dizzying visual and narrative possibilities of the form and as well as its wide-ranging aesthetic influences.
“Cartooning gets at, and re-creates on the page, some sixth sense—of space and of being in a body—in a way no other medium can quite so easily, or at least so naturally,” observed cartoonist Chris Ware. That sixth sense is evoked by Simon Fraser, in the panels from his fast-paced Adventures of Nikolai Dante series, and in the formidable characters created by Reilly Brown and David Klein, all of whom have drawn for such franchises as Marvel and DC. It is evoked in the very different style of Ellen Lindner, whose savvy heroine Tina Swift is the main character of The Black Feather Falls, set in 1920s London. Tiggy Ticehurst’s New York City-centric prints and paintings are laced with humor and bravado, while Tetsuo Hasegawa’s compositions recall Japanese calligraphy and nature scrolls, with bright splashes of color revealing skulls or animal faces. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the eye-popping, anatomically explosive works of the self-taught artist Demetrios Zissiadis.
Boisterous and rowdy, or sly and indirect, these are all works created by artists worth watching.
(Text by Jean Dykstra)