North Light Gallery is pleased to present Hey Melanie, a group show, curated by Raina Bajpai, which takes its title from a song of the same name. The song, whose muse is a friend, is a pleasant soft-bluesy-pop-kinda-sounds-like-Spin-Doctors-sing-along-as-it-plays-in-Forever-21 kind of song. A cheerful singer evokes pleasant images of youthful summer romance:
Hey Melanie, what’s in your pockets today?
I would like to know but I would understand if you couldn’t say
Now that the leaves have changed it all seems so real
Oh that wildest of dances
I’d like to climb your branches
and then, in the same upbeat tone, delivers the chorus:
but I don’t love you
I don’t love you
I’m, I’m sorry.
I don’t love you
I don’t love you
Irony, intentional or not, abounds. In this show, we look at four artists, each of whom is using the elements of contradiction and irony in a different way.
Jeffrey Johnson has created a world of contradiction and irony. Johnson’s humor is dark, along the lines of Mike Kelley: the cute and childlike often finds itself subverted by sexuality and death. Ice cream is sprinkled with eyeballs. Bunnies sprout beards and breasts.
In Troy Olson’s work, iconic political figures become the stars of comical tableaux as they find themselves in conversation with a smiling cabbage or adrift in outer space, clutching a bottle of Pine-Sol.
The contradictory nature of Francis Wong’s drawings makes apparent his conflicted feelings toward his subject: Hurricane Katrina’s paths and scope are illustrated and emphasized, but the hurricane is painstakingly rendered in delicate pen strokes, its abstract beauty enhanced by the technique.
Louis Le Papp’s work is deeply, yet unintentionally ironic. We live in a time where everyone, everyone is a photographer, but this huge increase in the number of people taking photographs only demonstrates the great rarity of the creative spirit. In Lou’s photographs, taken with a Pet’s Eye View camera, the viewer gets a candid look at the world from a new perspective.
Francis Wong grew up in southeastern Louisiana. He attended the summer program at NOCCA and, as a high school senior, attended the University of New Orleans pre-Katrina and experienced the hurricane’s aftermath. He moved back to New Orleans a year later, and has trained under water for the past 5-6 years. He also got a Zulu coconut curse during his first ZULU parade, and has not been able to stop taking pictures or having good times (unless he’s in hibernation). Art is his life and escape. He now goes by GoodtimeFrancis and Dr.Wong.
Jeffrey Johnson is an artist/musician who lives and works in Philadelphia. He currently plays in the noise group Hunnie Bunnies, as well as performing solo under the name ghost in salad. Jeffrey enjoys creating show posters and album artwork for his friends. He mainly works with pen and watercolor to create his illustrations, which usually center on portraits of odd creatures with bulbous and hairy features. Jeffrey also has an interest in working with fabric, and creates costumes and landscapes which are incorporated into his live performances. Jeffrey is often drawn to conflicting themes. This is most often noted in the visual work accompanying his music. Jeffrey’s creative process comes in waves. At the beginning an idea is formed and a goal is set, but as time passes the original idea usually become void and an entirely new goal is achieved. Furthermore, there are times where the work in progress reaches a point of having no specific direction relying on short blasts of energy until he decides it is time to stop.
Troy Olson is originally from Massachusetts, where he attended college, and now lives in Queens. His current series of digital collages is called “People who take themselves Serriessly”. Troy’s passions are plants and the natural community. He loves reflecting on past time and history, but struggles with the concept of creation. He once had a pet frog named Gooba.
Fun facts about Troy and Jeff:
Jeff and Troy are old friends, and their revelation of being outside the boundaries started with the sketchy revolution. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Olson explore various types of media to express annoyances with the boundaries of normalcy. During the period of 1999-2002, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Olson collaborated on many different projects: fashion, photography, and public art. Since then, Mr. Johnson and Mr Olson have traveled different roads, but both have been brewing up ideas. This show marks the 10 year anniversary of the ending of the sketchy revolution, so they have decided to show their new revelations. Also, this show marks Troy’s premier into art.
Louis Le Papp has esthetics in his blood: he is son of champions and grandson of Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being (Kirby), the first Papillon to receive the Westminster Best in Show title. Although the ring was not his scene, Lou has made a name for himself in many other ways. After being discovered at a sample sale, he worked as a fashion model, modeling sportswear and accessories for Kwigy-Bo. He has long been an artists’ model. After receiving a Pet’s Eye View camera, Lou began documenting his adventures in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Maine. Particularly noteworthy are his photographs of the 2011 NYC Easter Parade. Like his celebrated grandfather, Lou likes to climb inside things, especially the bags he rides around town in and the new squid-shaped house he got for Christmas. He also enjoys liver, cheese, whipped cream, basil, cats, squirrels, and perhaps most of all, Ikea meatballs. This is his first show.