Opening this evening at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, John Brophy’s solo show “The Saddest Heart on the Holy Mountain” features a new, surreal series of oil paintings on mounted paper that explore the continuity between European art history and the digital age. Though hand painted, Brophy’s figures are based on 3D-modeling software and have a computerized look that stands in contrast to the many pre-internet art historical allusions in his work. One piece features a floating urinal as a shout out to Marcel Duchamp while another work includes a lollipop with an icon-like portrait of Jesus holding a credit card. Brophy’s accumulations of discordant imagery alludes to the “anything goes” mentality of today’s art world and posits science and capitalism as the religions of Western society today.
Sometimes our crassest jokes reveal our hidden anxieties, while other times we create beautiful rituals surrounding that which we fear. It’s human nature to make light of death in order to not be consumed by the often incomprehensible idea of mortality. Examining a spectrum of responses to this difficult subject, Seattle gallery Roq La Rue recently collaborated with The Piranha Shop for a touring exhibition, “Boxes of Death.” Featuring well-known artists from the Pop Surrealist and low brow currents — like Camille Rose Garcia, Isabel Samaras and Casey Weldon — the show hit stops in LA, Portland and San Francisco and will be exhibited in Seattle for one night only at The Piranha Shop tomorrow, October 17.
Casey Weldon (featured in our current issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 32) illuminates nature scenes with his bright, electronic color palettes. His latest series of paintings, “Novel Relic,” will debut at Seattle’s Roq La Rue tonight, August 7, alongside Femke Hiemstra’s solo show “Warten am Waldrand” (previewed here).
Femke Hiemstra’s work always tickles the senses with its sumptuous textures and whimsical details and her upcoming solo show, “Warten am Waldrand,” at Roq La Rue in Seattle is no exception. The artist (recently featured in a special sketchbook section in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29) is known for the storybook quality of her drawings and paintings. But beyond the naive exterior, her animal vignettes sometimes take on a darker tone. Hiemstra does not strive for a cartoonish “creepy-cute” aesthetic, but rather invokes notes of somber emotions to give her characters full dimensionality. Her playful works tap into her viewers’ nostalgia for childhood, but the allegorical paintings offer plenty of opportunity for viewers to see reflections of themselves and the world around them.
Chie Yoshii’s latest exhibition at Roq La Rue in Seattle took its title from a quote by Carl Jung: “Human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” Titled “In the Darkness of Mere Being,” her new series of paintings was heavily influenced by the ideas of this pioneering psychologist.
Whereas his past work brought viewers in close, like a whisper, Andy Kehoe’s newest series of mixed-media paintings is more like a cry from a mountain top. Kehoe explores the broad terrain of the mystical forests we’ve visited before, opening a new chapter in the vignettes he has been weaving through his past solo shows in recent years. He creates depth by alternating layers of paint with resin, giving his paintings a shadow-box effect. His latest body of work — premiering this Thursday, June 5, at Roq La Rue in Seattle for his solo show “Inner Mystic” — marks a turning point in his aesthetic.