Curiouser and Curiouser. –Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
“Does domestic bliss equal artistic death?” This is the question that our heroine, Alice – a painter – asks in a full-length musical production, “Painted Alice,” for which the exhibit Drink Me, Taste Me – An Exhibition of Curious Things serves as a stage. The exhibition, on view at Plaxall gallery April 11-May 12, serves as a look into the contemporary artists working on the borderline of illusion, adventure, and curiosity. Curated by AHA Fine Art & Plaxall Art Gallery’s Norma Homberg, the exhibit offers new experiences and breadth of emotion accessible to visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Featuring fifty artists on view throughout the space working in a variety of mediums, the exhibition also curiously serves as a platform for the afore-mentioned “Painted Alice” musical, in which Alice (a painter) has lost all inspiration after getting her first commission, distancing herself from her partner and falling through her blank canvas into a visual-art inspired wonderland. Conversely, the visual art on view in Drink Me, Taste Me is inspired, in return, by Carroll’s original Alice in Wonderland book. Thus the reciprocal relationship between this new painter Alice and the original Alice presented throughout this art exhibition is established.
This exhibition features artists such as Kat Ryals, Elan Bogarín & Jonathan Bogarín, Arlene Rush, Karen Dimit, Jean Foos, Chloe Moon, Robin G Cole, Hisayasu Takashio, and many more. Featuring notes of surrealism, abstraction and the everyday – just for good measure – Drink Me, Taste Me holds something for everyone who is an observer, a dreamer, or a wanderer.
In Elan Bogarín & Jonathan Bogarín’s series, “Furniture that reminds me of Grandma” (2018), memories are transferred into imagery that captures childlike naïveté through compiled vignettes purporting a domestic scene from the artists’ own experience. The artists give childhood a new dimension: formed through the editorial lens of memory, these scenes speak to the inner child in all of us: our memories taking on new forms through the lens of historicization. While domestic scenes in our memories can never capture the full detail of each moment – the smells, textures and sensations we experienced in our youth – the artists are able to encapsulate the overall impression that such moments from childhood leave on our consciousness. Alice in Wonderland is itself written by an adult impressing a childhood experience on a captive audience, and the Bogaríns’ create work in a similar vein, impressing the experience of childhood from an adult perspective and for an adult audience.
Kat Ryals’ works in lenticular print capture a shimmering survey of imagery formed and reformed according to the viewer’s position to the artwork. By their very nature, lenticular prints can never offer one specific truth. They always bend and distort an array of images according to the viewer’s perspective. Offering a shimmering world of perspectives onto an uncertain and frequently distorted truth, Ryals manages to capture a captivating scene that somehow simultaneously feels both otherworldly and organic.
Various works on view either reference “Alice in Wonderland” via theme, recounting tales and passages related to the original tale, or in spirit, by channeling the sense of otherworldly adventure that Alice encounters during her travels. The musical “Painted Alice,” in particular, espouses the feelings of otherworldliness and un-belonging that women artists seeking to establish firm footing for their own art career while inhabiting the shadow of a partner’s success. Drink Me, Taste Me – An Exhibition of Curious Things acts both as narrative and dream sequence: offering an entry point to the woman artist’s experience, or denying a firm narrative by traipsing down a wonderland of nonsensical occurrences. There lies in wait a curious experience for the visitor to the exhibit, something difficult to firmly grasp, perhaps, but something dazzling nonetheless.
Drink Me, Taste Me – An Exhibition of Curious Things is on view at Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City from April 11-May 12, 2019.