On January 22nd, Jonathan LeVine Gallery presented Ray Caesar's latest body of work A Gentle Kind of Cruelty. Caesar's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery expands upon his signature aesthetic by taking a more painterly approach rendering new imagery with softer edges and greater movement than in previous exhibits. The title and inspiration for the show references the past few years of psychotherapy and analysis the artist has been going through.
Working in digital media to create his haunting images, Ray Caesar masterfully renders the Rococo style while elegantly blending a personal narrative alongside elements of surreal symbolism. A perfect example of this is Calamity (pictured above). Beautifully inspired by Rococo painter Jean Honoré Fragonard's The Swing, Caesar explains this piece in an interview with Mark Murphy as "...sort of how it [panic disorder] feels...one minute you are doing fine then you swing back and forth and then you fall without any warning." Tiny red ants found in the details of the painting were frequently used by surrealist master Salvador Dali to represent death and decay. Caesar is paying homage to his surrealist inspiration.
I hope you enjoy the photos courtesy of Jonthan LeVine Gallery. Although the pics are stunning, the artwork must be seen in person to fully appreciate. If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the exhibit. Show runs until February 19th.