“Young Blood Selects: 6 Local and National Artists” presents six artists working under the umbrella of illustration art. The exhibition is organized to flow from the work of one artist to the next. Despite this layout, however, little dialogue exists between artworks by different artists. This is unfortunate because the exhibition could have been more cohesive. Nevertheless, some works immediately caught my attention.
Upon entering Young Blood Gallery I was drawn to the boldly colored acrylic paintings of Toby Thane Neighbors. The Second Date: Grouse Hunting ‘Round the Loch illustrates a man and a woman holding guns. They are dressed in plaid outfits that are not suitable attire for hunting anything. The majority of Neighbors’ paintings can be read as caricatures, in this case of Scottish people. I couldn’t help but chuckle while examining the image and the words incorporated into it. Neighbors says he is concerned with the art of storytelling, and I could instantly imagine a narrative to fit this painting. Neighbors’ works may not be very critical, but they are visually delightful.
Some of Daniel J. Young‘s works provide a nice accompaniment to Neighbor’s caricature-like paintings. Catdonna illustrates a cat with a cloth covering her head and a golden halo surrounding it. While the title is an obvious reference to the Virgin Mary, this work also may reference Ancient Egyptian culture. Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats and also worshiped the lovable felines through the goddess Bastet. Cats were considered sacred: They were mummified after death, and the punishment for killing a cat was a death sentence. To a degree, we can relate to cat worship today; we all know at least one crazy cat lady. Like Neighbors’s work, that of Young may not be critical, but his craftsmanship and sense of humor create intrigue.
The harmony of colors in Max Kauffman‘s watercolors are also a highlight of the show. The sheer amount of detail found in these small images is captivating. Kauffman, who lives in Denver, Colorado, says his artwork focuses on struggle. While This Side of the Pond may represent an animal that wants to be on the other side of the pond, strife also is played out in the coloring. Green lurks behind the predominant reds in a composition that emphasizes the idea of struggle.
Daniel Davison‘s art, which is juxtaposed with Kauffman’s, also deals with the idea of struggle. Davison, a Georgia native, became obsessed with found objects at a young age. He now incorporates them into artworks like Science Does Not Understand. Perhaps more than his subjects, Davison’s process is intriguing.
The same my be said of Jenny Bunny Bunns, an Atlanta tattoo artist whose paper cut-outs are fascinating for their amount of detail and the large amount of time that surely goes into them. Bunn Tara illustrates a fantasy land with a woman sprouting from a flower.
What holds “Young Blood Selects” together is the focus on linear patterns and the importance of line. Although many works are beautifully colored, the lines remain the primary emphasis. Eric Trimble‘s pen drawings, such as The Sacrifice, represent the epitome of this compositional focus. While Trimble’s grotesque subjects may turn some off, his ability to use line as an expressive means is something that cannot be overlooked.
“Young Blood Selects: 6 Local and National Artists” is on display at Young Blood Gallery through Sat. Jan. 31.