Oxymoron: Oli Epp's Solo @ Carl Kostyál Gallery
Catching up on events missed during the holidays, we came across a favorite. Oli Epp's Oxymoron, a major solo presentation featuring a series of large-scale paintings, opened at London's Carl Kostyál on December 12, 2019. This latest work elaborates on the distinctive visual language and aesthetic he has spent years developing. Pushing both his concepts and technical skills even further, Oxymoron almost entirely focuses on capturing the beauty of a messed up world around us, a true Oxymoron in itself.
Contrasting the gallery's traditional wood-paneled walls, the unique humor of Epp's visuals burst with impact. Blind art collectors, curvaceous nudes in aphrodisiac, atmospherics, a thief pilfering a gold nugget or a distressed baker at work all portray exaggerated characters who address unlikely but plausible scenarios. Like Pedro Almodovar's movies, Epp presents fantasy and irreverence in quirky and conceivable characters and events.
Stripped of physical features but inhabiting graphic silhouettes, Epp's figures are defined in the food, accessories, and fashion items that swirl around them. Mixing the flawless plasticity of airbrush and the sharpness of masking technique with realistically rendered oil sections, Epp's visons become scarily real and alarming, despite haunting humor. Placed within a theater-like setting of blurred curtains draped in the background, each figure exaggerates real-life outrageousness, while commenting on lifestyles, trends or the emotional and social world in work that relates and connects with humor and impact. –Sasha Bogojev