Juxtapoz // Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Joshua Liner Gallery presents It Wanders East, an exhibition of new paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist Greg “Craola” Simkins (Juxtapoz #74.) This is Simkins’ first solo show with the gallery. It Wanders East opens Saturday, September 6th, 2008 (alongside David Choong Lee’s Village of Wind.)
With his dazzlingly macabre and admittedly warped imagination, Simkins participates in the long tradition of popular fantasists that includes Edward Gorey, Stan Lee, and Tim Burton. Simkins’ world is a troubled nether region of hybrid creatures—part fairytale, part science fiction. This encompassing vision looks back to the rich history of fantasy illustration while also prefiguring unsettling hypotheses for an imagined evolutionary future.
In Simkins’ large, finely wrought paintings, fantastical characters with symbolic accessories are arranged in quasi-narrative still-life’s that spread opulently across the picture surface.
Simkins’ grotesque, sumptuous, and often humorous imagery is painstakingly rendered in the mannerist style of Arcimboldo and Hieronymus Bosch, but the contents of his dreamlike tableaux are lifted from the contemporary unconscious—nightmares of toxic landscapes, bioengineered nature, and pop-culture decadence.
His blending of organic forms with the appearance of manufactured surfaces suggests technology run amok and a natural world in accelerated flux. Like other artists of his generation, Simkins honed his unique approach in the public arena as the West Coast graffiti artist known as Craola.
Details at joshualinergallery.com