A consummate storyteller drawing on vintage photos from the 1800’s, Travis Louie has ventured away from his standard fare of monster-morphed people to show you a side of equally odd humans with an affinity for Curious Pets. The underlying stories that are woven in the mind of the artist are far more expansive than the first impression of the pieces themselves and leave one to wonder who these characters are and how they got to this point in their specific journey.
Trained as a photographic re-toucher the technique of the artist is one of utter refinement and explicit detailing. Layers of beautifully and meticulously applied acrylic form the mystic, dreamy quality of the work. Influences from his childhood range from sci-fi magazines to odd reclusive neighbors in his hometown of New York, visually quoting films both old (1920’s) and as new as Pan’s Labyrinth. His obscure characters are always surrounded by an uncertain kind of electricity and uncertainty. Fanciful tales of odd pairings in his recent work play off the Victorian romanticism and mysticism he features with regard to religion and restraint in social values versus what goes on behind the closed doors of these misfits. Working in a relatively small format in the past, this exhibition features one of the largest undertakings ever completed by Louie; a painting of 30 x 40” still filled with all of the care and finesse he is know for.
Curious Pets runs until December 10th at Merry Karnowsky Gallery.