Emerging Artists Featured at Fulcrum Gallery
A new year has begun. Tacoma's Fulcrum Gallery is heralding the new beginning with a show of work by six relative newcomers to Tacoma's underappreciated art world. Julian Pena, Kelsi Finney, Brandon Urban, Kirsten Marie Pisto, Gabriel Brown and Meghan Mitchell have transformed the little gallery on the Hilltop into a showcase of stimulating and colorful art in a show called "Dawn of 2012."
In his bold and energetic paintings, Pena is able to synthesize multiple currents of expression into work that has a close affinity to Pop art. Christian iconography is combined with Japanese anime and manga styles in works like "John the Baptist" which features the titular saint as an anime character. The holy lamb, meanwhile, is covered in multi-hued polka dots. With "The Very Last Supper" Pena gives a nod to Dutch masters of still life and vanitas paintings that excelled in sumptuous depictions of feast-laden tables. Pena, however, surrounds a hunk of ham with a riotous cartoon cast of critters. Pena's work speaks through a visual language of personalized symbols. His own alter ego or avatar, for example, is shown as a levitating pink octopus with a unicorn horn.
Finney's creamy, mellow-yellow paintings in gouache and watercolor are warm and easy depictions of surreal scenes that are more humorous than disturbing. Her "Mr. Golightly" is a bust portrait of a gentleman deer with prominent antlers. The handsome buck is well dressed in a mustard yellow suit coat and striped neck tie. Finney's pictures ooze a sweet syrup of nostalgia for a time and place that exist only within her imagination.
Urban is a tagger and street artist making the transition from the large and fugitive art of the streets to the modestly sized, spot lit things that hang in art galleries and living rooms. He uses stencils and spray paint to coat canvases with Buddhas and Hollywood starlets.
Kirsten Marie Pisto
Pisto's oil paintings on birch wood panels possess a worm glow. The paint seems spread as easily as warm butter to create lush landscapes. With "I'm as lonesome as you are and feel more empty everyday," Pisto verges into the surreal: a distressed, feral-looking dog stands ankle deep in what appears to be a basketball court. In the background is a colorful smudge of a building.
Brown is crafty with corrugated cardboard and paper packaging. He makes prim little ticky-tacky houses from product boxes like Kleenex, Diet Coke and Pepsi. Each is set on its own little island that dangles from fishing line. His work is timely in hitting themes of housing and the disposable nature of consumerist economics.
Mitchell is the quiet one in the group. Her demure, intimate prints and drawings of delicate hands and maze-like abstractions are nearly drowned out by the visual loudness around them. They nevertheless possess their own charm and offer a respite to the eye.
Look for more to come from the artists featured in "Dawn of 2012." The show runs through March 10. For further information visit www.fulcrumtacoma.com.
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