The Devil Can't Stop Laughing: Americana and Dreams with Luke Pelletier @ Golden Hands, Hamburg
Luke Pelletier paints the America that is in the movies. Not just because he literally incorporates drive-ins and actual movie-scenes in his work, but its the idea of America that is important here. The expansive landscapes that are littered with signs of consumption. Characters are constantly surrounded by options, not in the literal sense but there is an angle in each work that is about taking in the the extremes at all times. I love that about Luke's work, because even though America is the home of a wide-open expanse of land between the East and West, and Luke being a North Carolina kid who went to Los Angeles to make it in the art world, there is truth in his works.
In the tradition of pop surreal painters, skateboard graphic artists and even the likes of Ed Ruscha's visions of the West, Luke Pelletier is finding his footing in the contemporary art world. His newest solo show, The Devil Can't Stop Laughing, that opened last month at Golden Hands Gallery in Hamburg, Germany, gives the impression of an America at its chaotic core. Some could say the sign of the times in a sense, but America has always been a loose canon, both proud of its conquering of the land but also a bit embarrassed by its riches as well.
One of Luke's strengths is that ability to create depth and absurdity in each work, big and small. As the gallery notes, Pelletier uses a wide variety of media to thwart his moral dilemmas with content such as objectification, capitalism, addiction, competition, free will, masculinity, romance and fun. In doing so, he fills his lively, energetic and entertaining works with personal anecdotes, dark humor, dualities, contradictions, repetitions and scenes of paradise, which are flawless and rotten at the same time." That is an essential trait. These moments are paradise and dirty, rotten and sublime. —Evan Pricco