Dead Alive

The Unstrained Eye is not an art critic but loves going to galleries and think about things. She takes photos, reads the lit and sometimes she'll chat with the artist. She goes to the galleries so you don't have to! Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.09.2010 15:27:09 (updated on 07.09.2010) Reading time: 4 minutes

Living Dead – by The Unstrained Eye

“Inthe beginning, good always overpowered the evils of all man’s sins, but in timethe nations grew weak and our cities fell to slums while evil stood strong. Inthe dusts of hell lurked the blackest of hates

Last week gallery Dvorak Sec opened the show Living Dead,with works by Paul Brainard. Paul´s works fell in two categories:  large pencil drawings of twisted urban themeslike pregnant rock chicks and rappers with skulls and peppered with textsnippets like “Morbid Obesity – I´m Loving It” (pic 1) – or – paintings that look like blue skies and green fields werepainted on glass that was shattered and reassembled, with self-portraits and nudes thrown in (pic 2).According to the literature “Bothabstraction and representation push and pull off of one another to develop a dynamicwithin the drawing that captures the void of substance in everyday life.” Bethat as it may, what´s significant here is that three Motley Crüemembers were painted into this collection, and one was noticeable absent . Idon´t know abstract art, but I do know Crüe. I had to find out about themissing Vince.

Nikki Sixx had his, with the hornedhand and black football player facial markings – coincidentally theword “sports” emblazoned above.Mick Mars had a painting (pic 3),and so did Tommy (pic 4). I had myown theories for this exclusion but just had to ask the artist whether he ranout of blond paint or was there a more profound reason for not portraying VinceNiel. Turns out you can´t live in NY and run out of paint. It was indeed because Vince´s light ‘n fluffymop doesn´t offer the right contrast to the vapid pop-porn  that the other – darker – band members do.Paul mentioned that he felt perhaps he shoulddo one for Vince, but the undeniable fact is that he was not compelled to. Youcan´t paint what you should, not when you´re playing with the balance ofwarlock wannabes and commercial cheesecake. And Hillary Clinton.

So Paul, if you´re reading, please DON´T do one for Vince.  Nikki started his life on the streets early, andchronicled lifelong addiction.  Tommy hadthat rockin´ reality show Supernova, not to mention a sex tape where he didn´t evenlook like a woeful amateur. And he´s still hot! A debilitating congenitaldisease is slowly fossilizing Mick´s body, and yet still he rocks! Plus, henamed his son Les Paul. Vince deserves compassion (vehicular manslaughtercharges and losing a child to cancer are true tragedies) but you can´t do apity painting. He needs to be a stylized icon of satan first, not a bloatedCali dude who golfs. Sorry.

A second exhibit running concurrently at Dvorak Sec is the WhiteProject. Here four contemporary artists, two of them Czech, show paintings,statues, neon signs and heroin rigs – all executed in white. How do I know it´sa heroin rig when I didn´t read it in the brochure? It´s not just the large heirloomhypodermic (pic 5) , and matchingladle-like spoon, but the matching oil burning candle that goes with it. As faras I know that rules out most other drugs (but I´m no expert). The three pieceswere made from beautiful hand cut lead crystal, giving it a decidedly posh appearanceand therein lies the mind boggle (for me at least). It´s perfectly acceptableto keep your expensive whiskey decanted in Waterford, and glass bongs that areworks of art are easy to find. But you don´t see that kind of luxury with theparaphernalia of street drugs – and yet – those users are just as, if not more,devoted in their approach to their ritual. Why? Maybe they just don´t choose toinvest in fragile and bulky works that fall and break when running from thecops. Maybe they´d rather spend their money elsewhere. The wealthy who couldshoot up in the privacy of their own smoking rooms are probably either takingprescription pills, or becoming less wealthy, fast. But for that one die-hard userwho has a vast fortune and will settle nothing less than steel in skin, this isfor you.

The same artist, Jiri Cernicky, created white canvases withsilicone “nerdles” (pic 6) (that´s theactual name for a tapering squirt of, say, toothpaste or frosting) hanging downfrom behind. Not as deep perhaps as the Swarovski rig, but I couldn´t keep fromtouching it to feel that squishy, tacky texture. A toppled headless angelstatue also caught my eye. On her back, a Marx quote written in German, writtenbackwards -the one about “The problem is not liberating ourselves from our illusions,but from our  need for illusions”. And(of course) there was a blow-up doll doing something peculiar with a blow-upinfant I believe she she was trying to air-feed it. (pic 7)

Standing in the center of the room were old-fashioned, maleand female dancing shoes that were not just fused together, but somehow craftedof one piece of patent leather (pic 8).The halogen lights on the metallic lines insides made the shoes not entirelypractical but this artist obviously has some skill when it comes to shoecrafting, and I admire that. It would be amazing to cobble one´s own shoes.  The roof top is home to more art, but wasclosed due to rain. I think I shall return again soon. Living Dead was a funshow, and the fourth of Dvorak Sec´s contemporary New York program. I´m sorryto have missed the others. 



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