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BEAUTIFUL DREAMERS

22 Set

Il sogno americano tra Lowbrow Art e Pop Surrealism

A cura di Ivan Quaroni e Chiara Canali

Dal 17 settembre al 15 ottobre 2016

 

La mostra Beautiful Dreamers – organizzata nell’ambito della quinta edizione della rassegna StreetScape, a cura di Chiara Canali e Ivan Quaroni, diffusa nelle piazze e nei cortili della città di Como – include le opere di alcuni dei più interessanti artisti della Lowbrow Art e del Pop Surrealism americani. Spesso provenienti dall’ambito dell’illustrazione e del graphic design, ma poi approdati alla pittura, questi artisti incarnano la propensione fantastica e surreale, insieme pop e folk, della pittura americana contemporanea.

Lowbrow Art e Pop Surrealism sono definizioni, spesso contestate, con cui si designa un vasto e variegato movimento artistico americano formatosi nei primi anni Novanta nell’alveo della cultura underground di Los Angeles. La sua formazione è, però, il risultato di una lunga catena d’influssi, incroci e ibridazioni di differenti subculture, sviluppatesi in California tra la fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale e l’inizio degli anni Ottanta. Contaminazioni che poi sono confluite in una forma compiuta solo nell’ultimo decennio del Novecento.

Composta principalmente di pittori, scultori, illustratori, toy designer, la Lowbrow Art affonda le radici nella cosiddetta Custom Culture e nelle Hot Rod, due fenomeni tipici dell’America del Secondo dopoguerra, che trasformarono il mondo delle automobili e delle corse su strada in un emblema di libertà, creatività e ribellione giovanile. Da quei primi, seminali fermenti, la Lowbrow Art è cresciuta e si è trasformata accogliendo via via gli influssi dell’Arte Psichedelica e del fumetto underground della vicina San Francisco, dell’estetica punk maturata a Los Angeles negli anni Ottanta, spesso attingendo agli stilemi di pratiche limitrofe come il tatuaggio, l’illustrazione, il design di giocattoli e traendo numerosi spunti tanto dall’immaginario pop della Street Art, quanto dalla tradizione dall’Arte Folk.

Gli artisti qui proposti rappresentano l’evoluzione attuale di quel movimento, la cui data di nascita si può far risalire alla fondazione della rivista Juxtapoz nel 1994, ma che in verità si è sviluppato lungo un cinquantennio nella costa ovest degli Stati Uniti, fino a diventare una oggi tendenza globale, con presenze in Europa, Asia e Sud America.

Gli artisti

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Ausgang, Old School, acrylic on canvas, 91×183 cm, 2011

 ANTHONY AUSGANG (Nato nel 1959 a Trinidad e Tobago. Vive e lavora a Los Angeles). Ha esposto in diverse gallerie internazionali: Zero Art Gallery di Houston (Texas) con cui ha esordito; Luz de Jesus, Kantor Gallery e Merry Karnowsky Gallery di Los Angeles. Tra le più importanti pubblicazioni, “Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art”, Ignition Publishing/Last Gasp, 2004. Tra i suoi principali collezionisti: David Arquette, Nicolas Cage, Perry Farrell.

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Gary Baseman, Blossoming of the Chou, acrylic on canvas, 61×46 cm., 2011

GARY BASEMAN (USA, Los Angeles, 1960) dove vive e lavora. Artista poliedrico, illustratore, designer e autore del famoso cartone animato Disney Teacher’s Pet, vincitore di tre Emmy Awards, Gary Baseman è considerato una delle figure di spicco della scena Pop Surrealista californiana, caratterizzata dalla contaminazione tra arte e cultura pop. Baseman ha iniziato la sua carriera a New York tra la seconda metà degli anni Ottanta e la prima metà degli anni Novanta, collaborando come illustratore con The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time, Atlantic Monthly e The Los Angeles Times. Ritornato in California, Baseman si è dedicato all’esplorazione di diverse forme di ibridazione tra arte, moda, pubblicità, design, musica e cinema e ha coniato il termine “Pervasive Art” per definire la sua estetica, capace di “offuscare la linea di confine tra Fine Art e Commercial Art”. Inserito dall’Entertainment Weekly magazine tra le 100 persone più influenti del mondo dell’intrattenimento, Gary Baseman ha esposto i suoi dipinti in musei e gallerie in tutto il mondo ed ha conquistato una vasta schiera di appassionati grazie alla creazione di vinyl toys, borse, stampe e altri prodotti per il mercato di massa.

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Tim Biskup, Doom Loop, graphite and cel vinyl on canvas, 122×122 cm., 2012

TIM BISKUP (USA, Santa Monica, California, 1967) vive e lavora a Los Angeles. I suoi lavori sono stati esposti in importanti musei e gallerie tra cui a Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Kyoto, Barcellona, Berlino, San Paolo, Buenos Aires e Melbourne. Tra le numerose mostre ricordiamo le più importanti: nel 2011 Former State, This Gallery, Los Angeles, nel 2010 Fantasilandia, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Awesome Paintings, All Tomorrow’s Parties Gallery, New York, nel 2009 The Mystic Chords of Memory, Iguapop Gallery, Barcellona, nel 2008 O/S Operating System, Addict Galerie, Parigi, The Artist in You, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, nel 2007 Ether, Billy Shire Gallery, Culver City, California, nel 2006 Vapor, Galerie Engler, Berlino, Pervasion, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California.

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Clayton Brothers, Danger Set Free, mixed media on canvas, 160×198 cm., 2008

CLAYTON BROTHERS Rob (1963, Dayton, Ohio) e Christian (1967, Denver, Colorado) Clayton hanno frequentato l’Art Center College of Design di Pasadena (California), laureandosi a pieni voti. Hanno tenuto importanti mostre personali al Musee de la Halle Saint Pierre di Parigi (2013), al Pasadena Museum of Art (2011) e al Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (2010) e in diverse gallerie a Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Santa Monica e Pechino (Cina). Hanno, inoltre, partecipato a mostre collettive presso il Santa Monica Museum of Art (Incognito, 2010), il Laguna Art Museum di Laguna Beach (In the Land of Retinal Delights, 2008) e il Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art di Manhattan in Kansas (BLAB! A Retrospective, 2008) oltre che ad alcune delle maggiori fiere d’arte internazionali, come Art Basel, in Svizzera, nel 2009 e nel 2010 e Armory Show a New York, nel 2006 e nel 2007.

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Carlos Donjuan, Mijo, acrylic on canvas, 122×122 cm., 2013

CARLOS DONJUAN (Messico, San Luis Potosi, 1982) vive e lavora a Dallas, Texas. Nel 2013 è stato nominato da New American Paintings tra i 12 artisti più notevoli dell’anno. Tra le sue mostre personali “Let Me Be Your Favorite Nightmare”, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, Dallas, Texas (2014), “Remove Your Veil”, HCG Gallery, Dallas, Texas (2010), “Tierra Nueva”, UTSA Satellite Space, San Antonio, Texas (2009), “The Ghetto Bird”, Gallery West, University of Texas at Arlington (2004). Tra le numerose mostre collettive nel 2013 “CrossSection”, HMAAC, Houston, Texas, nel 2012 “Richland College Faculty Art Show”, Brazos Gallery, Richardson, Texas, “Art and Advocacy”, F.I.G. Gallery, Dallas, Texas, “Serie Project”, Latino Cultural Center, Dallas, Texas, “Sesame Street Show”, KNOWN Gallery, Los Angeles, California, nel 2011 “Rest In Power”, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas, “Odyssey”, Brick Building, Culver City, California, “HEIR Today, Gone Tomorrow”, Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin, Texas, “Infinite Mirror”, Syracuse University Art Galleries, New York, nel 2010 “Something Good”, West 30th, Brooklyn, New York, “Predictions”, Brick Building, Culver City, California.

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Jeremy Fish, The Igloo Island, acrylic on canvas, 2015

JEREMY FISH (USA, Albany, 1974) vive e lavora a San Francisco. Famoso per la sua presenza unica e per i contributi estetici a North Beach, a.k.a. Little Italy, Jeremy Fish è un illustratore prolifico, product designer e artista con base a San Francisco da 21 anni. La sua è un’arte principalmente di narrazione e comunicazione, raccontata attraverso una collezione di personaggi e simboli che pone l’accento sul trovare un equilibrio fra immagini a metà strada fra il grazioso e il raccapricciante. Riconosciuto per il suo stile originale e per i suoi personaggi arguti, Jeremy Fish continua a esibire nuovi lavori in gallerie e musei internazionali. Fish è attualmente il primo artista in residenza al municipio di San Francisco, dove è impegnato in un progetto per la celebrazione del centesimo compleanno della City Hall.

Ryan Heshka, Canada in Colour, 2015, gouache and mixed on vintage paper

Ryan Heshka, Canada in Colour, 2015, gouache and mixed on vintage paper

RYAN HESHKA (Canada, Manitoba, 1970) vive e lavora a Vancouver, Canada. Ha conseguito una laurea in interior design e ha lavorato per molti anni in questo settore, oltre che nell’animazione, prima di fare dell’arte e dell’illustrazione la sua principale attività. Heshka appare nei maggiori annuali d’illustrazione, tra cui American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, 3 x 3, e Applied Arts. Tra i suoi clienti ci sono Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Playboy, Esquire, Forbes,Topps e Dreamworks SKG. Ha esposto in gallerie nel Nord America ( tra cui Roq La Rue, Seattle, WA; Copro Nason, LA; Orbit Gallery, New Jersey; Rotofugi, Chicago) e in Europa (Feinkust Kruger, Germania; Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Italia), ed è stato pubblicato numerose volte sulla rivista BLAB! e su alcuni libri dedicati al movimento della New Underground, tra cui THE UPSET (Gestalten Publishing).Ha pubblicato i libri per bambini Welcome to Monster Town (Simply Read Books, 2007) e Welcome to Robot Town (Henry Holt & Co., 2013), tradotti in diverse lingue.

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Russ Pope, The Apartment, acrylic on canvas, 108×125 cm., 2015

RUSS POPE (USA, 1970) vive e lavora in Massachusetts. L’arte di Russ Pope attinge al contesto sociale e politico che lo circonda nella sua quotidianità. Le ispirazioni di Pope sono lo skateboard, la musica e le persone creative e interessanti che incontra ogni giorno. Le sue pennellate audaci, gli scarabocchi finiti e i quadri accattivanti sono caratterizzati da volti, nature morte e situazioni divertenti. Dai primi tempi in California centrale a fare skateboard, disegnare e partecipare a concerti punk, fino alla sua vita attuale nel New England, Russ Pope ha elaborato la vita e le sue interazioni con il mondo attraverso il prisma di una penna e di un pennello.

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Andy Rementer, Biker, oil on canvas, 122×76 cm., 2015

ANDY REMENTER (USA, 1981. Vive e lavora a Philadelphia) è un artista grafico americano vincitore di numerosi premi. È cresciuto in una cittadina costiera vittoriana, dove una precoce esposizione alle insegne sbiadite dal sole ha dato origine al suo amore per la tipografia e per i caratteri eseguiti a mano. Un senso di atemporalità e nostalgia permea il suo mondo visivo. Un altro tema ricorrente nell’opera di Rementer è l’isolamento, che egli cita come effetto del suo improvviso trasferimento in un ambiente urbano durante gli anni della formazione ed è spesso rappresentato nei suoi lavori attraverso il disagio di fondo dei suoi personaggi. Si è laureato presso The University Of The Arts nel 2004. Dopo aver lavorato a Fabrica, nel nord Italia, si è trasferito nell’East Coast, dove divide il suo tempo fra il disegno, la pittura, e la narrazione. Il suo lavoro colorato e vivace è stato presentato da una varietà di fonti, che includono una collaborazione in corso con Apartamento Magazine, The New York Times, MTV, The New Yorker, Le Monde, New York Magazine e Creative Review. Ha esposto la sua arte in mostre personali e collettive in Europa, Stati Uniti e Asia.

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Fred Stonehouse, The Sounds of Failure, acrylic on wood, 122×91 cm., 2014

FRED STONEHOUSE (USA, Milwaukee, 1960) vive e lavora a Milwaukee, in Wisconsin. Diplomato in pittura all’UW-Milwaukee, attualmente Fred insegna disegno e pittura all’UW-Madison (Wisconsin). I suoi lavori fanno parte di numerose collezioni private, come quella di Madonna, e pubbliche: Mary And Leigh Block Museum Of Art, Evanston (Illinois); Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; San Jose Art Museum, San Jose (California), per citarne solo alcune. Tra le principali mostre personali: nel 2013, The Deacon’s Seat, St. Ambrose College, Davenport (Iowa); nel 2012, Blood Relatives, Taylor Bercier Fine Art, New Orleans; nel 2011, Marsh Night, Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles; nel 2010, Marshland, Howard Scott Gallery, New York; nel 2007, Selections From The Natural History Portfolio Of Marshall Deerfiled, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee. Tra le principali mostre collettive: nel 2014, Don’t Wake Daddy IX, Feinkunst Kruger, Amburgo; nel 2013, Vice And Virtue, Northern Illinois University Art Museum, DeKalb (Illinois); nel 2007, BLAB!, Copro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica (California).

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Eric White, Dodge Brothers Coupe d 8 Double Indemnity, oil on canvas, 51×127 cm., 2011

ERIC WHITE (USA, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1968) vive e lavora a Los Angeles. Il pittore, che negli ultimi anni ha ottenuto un conclamato successo a livello internazionale, ha esposto in rinomate gallerie e musei in tutto il mondo tra cui Jeffrey Deitch Project e Gladstone Gallery a New York, Laguna Art Museum a Los Angeles e MACRO a Roma. Nel 2010 gli è stata assegnata una borsa di studio per la pittura dalla New York Foundation for the Arts. La sua iconografia è apprezzata e seguita da una folta schiera di collezionisti, tra i quali alcune star del cinema oltre che numerosi esponenti dal mondo musicale.

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Zio Ziegler, Weight of Art History, acrylic on canvas, 122×91 cm., 2015

ZIO ZIEGLER (USA, Mill Valley, California,1988) ive e lavora a San Francisco. Ha studiato filosofia alla Brown University e pittura alla Rhode Island School of Design. Le sue opere si possono trovare in diversi luoghi, come wall painting, e gallerie in giro per il mondo, i suoi murales sono a San Francisco, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico. Tra le sue mostre personali ricordiamo nel 2014: Chasing Singularity, Artists Republic 4 tomorrow, Laguna Beach, CA; nel 2013: The Infinite, Gallery 81435, Telluride CO, Chaos/ Clarity, Ian Ross Gallery, San Francisco, CA; nel 2012 Lost Illusions, Project Gallery, Hollywood, CA.Tra le mostre collettive: nel 2013 Winter Group Show, Stolen Space Gallery, London UK, Rise Above, Las Vegas NV, Neu-Folk, Lequivive Gallery, Oakland CA; Confluence, 5024SF Gallery, San Francisco CA, Complex Gallery, Portland, OR, Santurce es Ley, Museum of Contemporary Art Puerto Rico, San Juan Puerto Rico, Young Americans, Singapore Indonesia; nel 2012 FlashBang, Project One Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Primeval, Carmichael Gallery, Culver City, CA; and Chromatic: An Undeniable Experience, Roll-Up Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Il suo lavoro è apparso su importanti riviste come The San Francisco Chronicle, Vice Magazine, Seven by Seven Magazine, Four Magazine, The Las Vegas Sun, Juxtapoz Magazine, Hi-Fructose, Vans, Argot & Ochre, Unruth, Complex, Booooooom, Arrested Motion, RVCA and Marin IJ.


Info:

Beautiful Dreamers.
Il sogno americano tra Lowbrow Art e Pop Surrealism

Mostra realizzata in occasione di StreetScape5
a cura di Ivan Quaroni e Chiara Canali

Evento organizzato in occasione della 12° Giornata del Contemporaneo promossa da AMACI

SPAZIO PARINI
Via Parini 6, Como

Orari:
lun-ven: 15.00 – 19.30
sab –dom: 10.30 – 12.30 /14.30 – 19.30

Info:
http://www.artcompanyitalia.com
info@artcompanyitalia.com
info@accademiagalli.com
www.accademiagalli.it

In collaborazione con:
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milano

Ufficio Stampa Milano:
Sonia Dametto: soniapress@teletu.it cell. 392 7182787

Ufficio Stampa Como:
Silvia Introzzi mail: silvia.introzzi@manzoni22.it cell. 335 5780314

 

Ryan Heshka. A fantastic history of Canada

27 Mar

by Ivan Quaroni

 

As we know, life and art are closely linked, even when the latter seems to be only the offspring of unbridled fantasy. Take the case of the Canadian artist Ryan Heshka: 44 years old, with a degree in Interior Design and a past as an animator and illustrator for famous magazines like Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Playboy and Esquire. Mentioned in the leading American illustration annuals, and having published three children’s books translated in many languages, Ryan Heshka – prior to devoting himself body and soul to art – had already developed his own very personal fantastic vision, influenced by cartoonists like Jack Kirby and Basil Wolverton, sci-fi films, pulp magazines and, in short, all the imagery of pop culture a young North American could absorb.

One might think that life, real life, hasn’t got much to do with pin-ups, superheroes, giant robots, monsters and the cardboard sets of old b-movies. But that is not true. If you were a kid in a country like Canada in the 1970s, notorious for its long, very cold winters, you would know what it’s like to hang around for hours at home searching for pastimes to ward off boredom.

Ryan Heshka, Fulvia and Ulva, 2015, oil and mixed on wood panel, 45x35 cm

Ryan Heshka, Fulvia and Ulva, 2015, oil and mixed on wood panel, 45×35 cm

The art of Ryan Heshka begins like that, during a dilated, padded childhood in the warmth of a domestic setting, while he kills time playing, reading comics, watching sci-fi movies, cultivating his own imagination, day after day. So far so normal. All Canadian kids have a similar childhood, in one way or another. But Ryan Heshka has something more. He is a creative youngster who draws a lot and shoots homemade stop motion films with a Super 8 camera. And we should consider the influence on him of growing up in a nation with wild nature, full of mountains, rivers, lakes and forests, home to animals like the elk, the moose, the lynx, the caribou, the polar bear, the grizzly and the beaver, and even fantasy creatures like Sasquatch or Bigfoot. A child, and one with clear artistic leanings, cannot help but be permanently marked by that sort of experience.

Ryan Heshka, Hockey Widow, 2015, oil and mixed media on board, 33x28 cm

Ryan Heshka, Hockey Widow, 2015, oil and mixed media on board, 33×28 cm

Anyway, Ryan Heshka grew up with a good amount of pragmatism, so he aimed his creativity at commercial applications. He studied and worked for a while in the field of Interior Design and then in that of animation, but certain memories die hard, and the impressions of the early years of his life stuck with him. And it is true that the more you grow up the more certain memories become vivid. So in 2000 Ryan returned to his old passion. Practical people might say that he passed to the “dark side of the force” and by transforming art into his main activity he took a leap into the unknown. But for me, this is the typical behavior of a Jedi: to risk everything to concentrate, body and soul, on something that more closely corresponds to the idea you had of yourself as a child.

Ryan Heshka, Canadian Military, 2015, gouache, collage and mixed media on vintage paper, 57x77 cm

Ryan Heshka, Canadian Military, 2015, gouache, collage and mixed media on vintage paper, 57×77 cm

Romance of Canada, the title of the second solo show by Heshka at Galleria Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, is a return to the roots and, at the same time, a tribute to the nation of many lakes, seen through the twisted gaze of childhood. Heshka takes his cue from Canadian clichés and stereotypes to construct an original image of his country, a new identity suspended between present and future, fiction and reality.

Setting aside, at least for the moment, the monsters and the tin robots, the artist concentrates on the telling of what, if possible, is an even more dreamy, rarified tale. There is no lack of surreal and even noir atmosphere, at times, as is typical in his work, as well as the references to the graphic stylemes of comics and the illustration of the Golden Age, but we can also sense a more personal, autobiographical imprint.

Ryan Heshka, Masters of the Man-Dogs, 2015, acrylic and mixed media on wood, 55x69 cm

Ryan Heshka, Masters of the Man-Dogs, 2015, acrylic and mixed media on wood, 55×69 cm

Romance of Canada marks the passage towards a more detailed kind of painting, in which the typical chromatic palette of the artist – composed of blaring yellows, pale pinks, bright reds and intense shades of blue – meets with the introduction of new iconographic themes. The exhibition, containing about thirty works including gouaches on paper and oils and mixed media on canvas, is conceived as a fictional, imaginary representation of the North American nation. Each painting, in fact, makes reference to a city, a specific place, or to well-known aspects of the history and lifestyle of the country, such as rituals, customs, festivities, filtered through a gaze dominated by the figures of speech of metaphor and allegory.

Constructing his imaginary Canada, at the crossroads of history, folklore and science fiction, Ryan Heshka doesn’t refrain from taking some jabs at the domestic clichés of the land of the Maple Leaf.

Canadian Military, for example, pokes fun at the proverbial ranked structure of the armed forces, hypothesizing and army that seems to have emerged from the pages of Weird Tales, the popular sci-fi comics magazine of the 1950s. There’s a bit of everything: a three-legged robot, a woman with two heads, a platoon of riflemen with snowshoes, two swordsmen in funny carnival costumes, a sniper in spike heels, a sexy telegraph operator, a human target and movie camera, a kamikaze frog, a lobster standard bearer, a beaver nurse and a kid dressed up as a rocket. In short, it’s the nuttiest and shabbiest militia you could imagine, arrayed in order to form a sort of Christmas tree, topped by a scroll with an absurdly comical battle cry: “I’m sorry”.

Ryan Heshka, Canadian Home Movies, 2015, acrylic and mixed on illustration board, 10x7 cm

Ryan Heshka, Canadian Home Movies, 2015, acrylic and mixed on illustration board, 10×7 cm

Maybe not everyone knows that “I’m sorry” is a recurring phrase in the English lexicon of Canada, famous for endless shades of meaning. It is said, in fact, that while the English almost never use this expression, the Canadians abuse it. Heshka has made it the national motto of his private Canada. I’m Sorry. National Flag is a banner that resembles, however, a plate from a medieval bestiary, with the animals arranged symmetrically on a black field, as in the finest heraldic tradition.

Stereotypes, clichés and references to today’s Canada wind through all the paintings. One is about hockey widows, the wives of professional players of the Canadian national sport, who during the play-offs are forced to live in a condition of widow-like solitude. With his usual dark humor, Heshka imagines one of these women in front of the hibernated body of her husband, interred with his hockey stick, in the uniform of his team.

Winter Festival contains a veiled allusion to the events and festivities that happen in Canada in the winter months, like the one that enlivens Niagara Falls every year with fireworks and pyrotechnic spectacles. But the painting Winter Fall, with a mysterious, melancholy girl seated on a block of ice, also contains a terse survey of national fauna, with certain specimens also found in Red Beaver Bandit, Blue Birds and Myth of the Blue Caribou.

Ryan Heshka, Winter Festival, 2015, oil and mixed, 32x26 cm

Ryan Heshka, Winter Festival, 2015, oil and mixed, 32×26 cm

Another big role in Heshka’s work is played by landscape, mostly snow and ice, as in Canada in Colour, or featuring menacing mutant flora, as in Ravages of Pine Disease and The Floral Entity. The most disturbing and spectacular scenarios, however, are those of Romance of Canada and Masters of the Man-Dogs. The first is a small mixed media on panel that illustrates an episode worthy of Fortitude, the hit BBC TV show set in the Arctic Circle. The second is a choral scene of submission that could easily stand up to the cruelest fantasies of Henry Darger[1]. And, in effect, The Realms of the Unreal, in reference to the hypertrophic narration illustrated by the outsider artist from Chicago, would be a perfect subtitle for the Romance of Canada series. Also because besides being unreal and fantastic, Heshka’s Canada, like the real Canada, is still a kingdom, a monarchy, though a parliamentary one, with two national anthems, one of which is the famous (and British) “God Save the Queen”.

Ryan Heshka, Wood Gang of Lake Winnipegosis, 2015, gouache and mixed on vinatge paper, 24x18 cm

Ryan Heshka, Wood Gang of Lake Winnipegosis, 2015, gouache and mixed on vinatge paper, 24×18 cm

Politics aside, Heshka’s Canada seems like the dream triggered by an unbridled imagination, and overturned utopia halfway between Tim Burton and Wes Anderson, populated by wild creatures and genetic aberrations, aliens and superheroes and, above all, a range of pin-ups, vamps, femme fatales and cover girls that would even make Mel Ramos green with envy.

In short, this Canada is like an old lost film of RKO Pictures you always wanted to see, like the last episode of a series that has kept you glued to the screen for months, like the out-of-print book of illustrations you once owned and regret having lost, like the definitive cartoon that still needs to be invented, something you have barely glimpsed from the corner of your eye and can no longer do without.

In a nutshell, while I’m waiting to see Heshka’s paintings up close, I feel like someone who has never seen the first episode of Twin Peaks…

Ryan Heshka, Ravages of Pine Disease, 2015, oil and mixed on paper, 40x28 cm

Ryan Heshka, Ravages of Pine Disease, 2015, oil and mixed on paper, 40×28 cm

[1] Henry Darger (Chicago, 1892-1973) was a self-taught American artist who had Tourette syndrome, and is considered one of the greatest exponents of “outsider” art. His most famous work is a fantasy manuscript of over 15,000 pages entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. Known simply as The Realms of the Unreal, this gigantic work features hundreds of collages and watercolors that illustrate the stories of the Vivian Girls, hermaphrodite children waging a bloody war against the Glandelinian generals.

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RYAN HESHKA – ROMANCE OF CANADA
curated by Ivan Quaroni
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea Gallery
Via Solferino 44, Milan (Italy)
From March 26 | 2015 to May 16 | 2015

http://www.colomboarte.com