Monday, 15 October 2012 02:04

Art >> Artists Who Think Outside the Coffin: The Macabre Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery

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Anyone who went to La Luz de Jesus Gallery on October 5 for the opening night of a pre-Halloween art thriller certainly got some of what they came for—skulls and skeletons, a little blood, black lacquer here and there—and I admit that was one of the reasons I went myself.

But the Macabre Show is hardly restricted to the subjects of death and decay; in fact, a living soul could find substantial nourishment in the ways themes such as spirituality, matriarchy, magic spells, pathology, and technology are explored by the eight featured artists.

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Craig LaRotonda, “The Final One,” acrylic and paper fragments on wood.

Each artist brings his or her own theme to the Macabre Show. In “Rise of the Robosapiens,” Craig LaRotonda imagines a future full of human-machine hybrids. Steven Daily’s series “Melchizedek” was inspired by “growing up in a spiritual home, yet being attracted to the macabre;” his subject matter includes stories from the Bible. Myron Conan Dyal’s “Equinox” is a series of large sculptures made with papier-mache and acrylic paint, dominated by skulls and figures that to me invoke gods from ancient times and legendary monsters; some of these figures are emerging from moist-looking pods that remind me of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Scott Holloway’s series “Janus” reveres death and spirituality with pieces reminiscent of medieval religious icons, embellished with gold leaf as in real medieval art. In “Rest in Peaceful Slumber,” Mavis Leahy combines bones, jewels, fabric, metal, ceramics, and other materials (some genuinely antique) to make three-dimensional figures with skull heads and elaborate costumes in funerary black and aged lace. “Dark Mother” is Jasmine Worth’s exploration of Woman as pagan goddess, holy mother, and originator of sin all in one. Miso exhibits a variety of tiny mutant newborns and fetuses in her series “Birth.”  And Gail Potocki has in the show a single large work, a triptych entitled “Unkept and Whispered,” which tells the story of a woman setting off “a chain of dire events.”

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Scott Holloway, “Judgment,” oil, ink, and leaf on panel.

If, after the profundity of this show, you still yearn for the dark-themed, kitschy fun that always accompanies the Halloween season, you’ll find plenty of it in the store that you walk through to get to the gallery, along with great art prints, books, and jewelry.

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Steven Daily, “Hierarchy,” acrylic on wood.

The Macabre Show runs through October 28 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027. For more details, visit http://laluzdejesus.com, where you can also see the work of all eight artists in the show.

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Mavis Leahy, “Lourdes,” starling skull, antique lace and fabrics (circa 1880), antique French holy card (circa 1900), small bird bones, vintage pearls, gold bullion.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thea Saks

Thea Saks is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her company, The Mighty Squirm (www.themightysquirm.com), specializes in apparel and art prints with designs inspired by folklore and historical periods of interest, especially the 19th century. Thea's work has appeared in local galleries including Cella Gallery, Cannibal Flower, and La Luz de Jesus, as well as Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco and District VII in Detroit. The Mighty Squirm has participated in markets for highly original merchandise such as Unique LA, Bats Day Black Market, Bazaar Bizarre, Comikaze Los Angeles, and Son of Monsterpalooza.

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