Hosted by CentralTrak, Draftsman of the Apocalypse depicts both observational and visionary illustration in order to conjure images of mankind’s eventual doom. Everyday life is frightening enough and current news supplies documentarians with more than enough ammunition. For the fantasist artist, religion, folklore and cinema are ready to inspire and steer the topic toward the macabre.
Perhaps these visions are offered to the public in the form of cautionary premonition and sermon: “Beware! Change your wicked ways or be forever damned in this misery.” Or in the vein of slasher films and the Theatre Guignol, the narratives and visuals provide entertainment and vicarious thrill without a solid moral lesson. Regardless of purpose or politic, humans have a fascination with “end of times” and this exhibition should provoke a quickened pulse along with a few uneasy chuckles.
In this gathering of contemporary art with a focus on blight and its inherent horrors, we have both the “observer” and the “visionary.” Simeen Farhat and Annabel Daou have witnessed violence and military unrest in their respective home countries of Pakistan and Lebanon. Both artists utilize script in an abstraction of war but also as a tool of poetic reportage.
While stateside, artist Thor Johnson who has survived a number of unfortunate physical attacks, retells his trauma in crude sculptural figurative tableaux and drawings. El Franco Lee is a historical painter and storyteller, rendering images that pull back the veil on America’s “melting pot” myth and point to injustices endured by our African-American citizenry.
Joachim West’s obsessive drawings are deliciously neurotic, with themes often volleying between erotic and abhorrent. Similarly, the well-known gallerist David Quadrini’s little-known/seldom-shown paintings arouse both lust and an impulse to flee.
Clay Stinett’s compositions and color schemes adhere to the “more is more” adage. Stinett mines popular culture and recognizable characters to create Frankenstein-ian blasts of visual information, which makes for overwhelming delight due to his enormous skills and enviable energy. A comical edge tints the work of Alex Paulus, who also revels in the horrific: suicides, tragedies, mutant and otherwise unrecognizable humanoids in a palettes reserved for birthday parties.
Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display through December 13.