OUTSIDER ARTISTS CONVERGE ON BLUE WAVE
by Rebecca DelMonico
Space orbs hang like menaces over toxic wastelands and kittens parade with skeleton rock bands: this is art from the underground, and it’s surfacing at the Blue Wave Fine Art Gallery in the form of “Visions of the Uncanny: Surrealist, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Gothic and Comic Art.”
This extraordinary exhibition of eight “outsider” artists from across the United States and Europe includes lagoon monsters, aliens and zombies that escape the pulp page for gallery glory in this rare convergence of visionaries, presenting a comprehensive scope of contemporary art that startles as it amuses. The show features over 70 works of small-to-moderate scale in various mediums including oil, ink on paper and digital print.
You can “forget about the traditional New England lighthouse at this exhibition,” said curator Nicolas Venjean, son of the exhibiting French artist, Daniel Venjean, whose affinity for drawing spaceships for his son as a boy roused his taste for the eccentric.
Acclaimed in France, Surrealist Daniel Venjean designed concept artwork for the European Space Agency and exhibited with Salvador Dalí. In his paintings, Venjean populates barren galactic realms with anthropomorphic creatures such as tentacle eyeballs and characters like the “Birdman.”
Visionary artists have a “unique kind of creativity,” explained the younger Venjean who, together with Blue Wave Gallery owner Asia Scudder, selected artists specifically for their odd brand of imaginative muscle while dealing in fantasy of every form the spectacular, absurd, horrific and droll.
The work, if deviant and sinister, “always has an element of humor as well,” Venjean said. For example, in outsider artist Kriev’s painting, “News of the Underworld,” a robot dangles a pile of bloodied bodies from his clutches, their faces lit with doll-like bliss in unison with their attacker. This duality appears in Kriev’s playful series of rendered classic-rock album covers including “Zombie Road,” where the Beatles adopt hollow-black eyes as they march in file on skeletal legs.