On view September 10, 2021 – January 2, 2022 at: Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum One East Main Street Mesa, Arizona 85201
Phoenix painter Wiley Wallace creates luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds intersecting the real and imagined. Under a neon-hued glow, his realistic and surreal renderings of children and adults are placed amid Arizona landscapes, creating “near-magical” references of the supernatural. Through narratives of connection and communication, Wallace’s imagery suspends the viewer with a playful and macabre innocence.
‘Lucid Fate’ is Wallace’s debut solo museum exhibition.
Presented in co-operation with Thinkspace Projects
Thinkspace is pleased to announce Petrichor, a mid-career retrospective at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum dedicated to the surreal and darkly stylized work of Japanese American artist, and Mesa AZ native, Esao Andrews. Known for his minutely detailed and narratively suggestive paintings, Andrews brings haunting imagery to life through his uniquely mannerist distortion of subjects, both human and animal, and the strange undertow of his desolate, Gothically inspired landscapes. Themed around homecomings, departures, and afflictive transformations, Andrews’ works feel drawn from the same collective imaginary reserves as myth.
Andrews attended New York’s School
of Visual Arts where he studied illustration and completed a B.F.A in 2000. An
accomplished figurative painter, he participated in the BP Portrait Award at
the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2002. The artist has worked
commercially in tandem with his fine art practice which has, in recent years,
grown to include large-scale murals, and produced iconic album cover artwork
for American rock band Circa Survive. He has also created numerous comic book
covers for DC’s Vertigo Comics, and memorable deck designs for Deathwish and
will feature over a dozen iconic
works by Andrews, borrowed from private collections worldwide, and will include
the original artwork from the Circa Survive album releases. Also included in
the exhibition are never before seen sketches and maquettes, objects and
skateboard decks, and twelve new, never before seen works alongside a
site-specific mural created for the retrospective.
Staging a world of unlikely
combinations and unexpected tensions, Andrews revels in the surreal elasticity
of the subconscious and its penchant for the poetically absurd. No hybrid is
too unimaginable, no character too fantastic, no anthropomorphous invention too
unthinkable. Objects, animals, and people are all dynamically animate and
sentient, subject to the inexplicable rules of their living fictional cosmos.
Always one for compelling epilogues, Andrews has revisited past characters and
themes throughout his career, building on earlier works and weaving a sort of
narrative continuity throughout his output. Though the tone of his imagery
often borders on the grotesque or even macabre, a literary impulse links
Andrews’ works to the fabric of fable and myth, its folkloric threads binding
it to something vaguely archetypal and collective in its haunting resonance.
Andrews lists diverse sources of
inspiration for his work, everything from art history to skate counterculture.
The immersive manga fantasies of anime master Hayao Miyazaki figure prominently
among his influences, as do French 19th-Century Academic painting styles,
particularly its neoclassical revisitation of myth and the tenebrous cast of
its moody contrasts. Andrews also cites the heightened emotional drama of
Gustav Klimt’s Symbolist Art Nouveau style and Egon Schiele’s Expressionistic
sensual grotesque as other stylistic sources. Contemporary painters James Jean
and Inka Essenhigh list among his inspirations too, as does visionary
cartoonist Al Columbia for his masterful, ghoulish reinterpretations of
“Petrichor” is said to
be the fluid stone coursing through the veins of the Gods in Greek mythology,
it is also the warm earthen smell after a downpour on desiccated land, the
relief of rain on hot desert and dry air that signals a moment of elemental
transformation and all the inexplicable micro-metamorphoses that attend a
relieved and changing landscape. This is the dark but beautifully redemptive
imaginary Andrews is continually bringing to life – one in which endings and
beginnings are indivisibly bound.
Last month, American Art Collector magazine covered two of our exhibitions, Flourish at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and Brain Mashburn’s Axiom in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. You can view the articles in more detail at the following link.