On Saturday night, Thinkspace celebrated Jacub Gagnon’s second solo exhibition at the gallery with “Worlds Collide” (previewed here). “My paintings become a space in which nature becomes unnatural, bordering surreal,” Gagnon shares. By leaving the surroundings of his royal animal subjects to the viewer’s imagination, the focus of his work becomes connectivity. In other words, Gagnon is inspired by the connection between human and animal relationships and mixes the two here. Gagnon begins his acrylic paintings with a black background, building the light and detail backwards until the final image is revealed. Details such as foxes wearing vintage teacups and bearded owls decorated with monarch butterflies are especially ornate.
Jacub Gagnon, with his work at the opening.
These images of animals sleeping, nesting, and posing for esteemed, regal portraits might be too sweet if it wasn’t for the ominous black void behind them. The effect is similar to 20th century velvet painting, where colors stand out brightly against dark backgrounds and animals are placed in bizarre situations, like dogs playing poker. Gagnon rejects this notion, instead citing his upbringing as a “country boy” and his childhood night light as early influences. In the project room, Erica Rose Levine adds to this noble theme with her “Empress” exhibition. Her realistic, glamorous women stare boldly at the viewer, but retain femininity with soft and pretty colors.
“Worlds Collide” by Jacob Gagnun exhibits at Thinkspace Gallery from June 21 to July 12, 2014.
Erica Rose Levine: