Hamiltonian Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition where fairy tale meets flesh in two parts: James Rieck, Mead Hall; and Jonathan Monaghan, Life Tastes Good in Disco Heaven. Whether in Monaghan’s digital constructs or Rieck’s masterly-engineered paintings, both artists appropriate the iconographies of storytelling and marketing to question notions of power and subjugation.
Five paintings comprise the series Mead Hall, inspired by the heroic epic poem Beowulf, and The Monsters and the Critics, J.R.R. Tolkien’s consequential 1936 lecture on the literary work. James Rieck deftly arranges cropped images from historical paintings, seductive women, and medieval props to present a contemporary interpretation of the medieval classic.
The soft, predominately gray paint with flecks of glittery mica lure the viewer to further discover an elaborately crafted mythos of castration. Though subtle, Rieck offers us abject bodies of pale skin, fur, fabric, and steel caught in a state of pretension and pose. In the painting Judith, Rieck explores the art historical underpinnings of classical female characters, further convoluting the depiction of sex and violence through the eroticization of death. The thematic depictions of sexy heroes and their slain beasts bring to life female personas, which usurp the previously comfortable role of the masculine ego.
Jonathan Monaghan explores the dialectical nature of an increasingly simulated world with his new work, Life Tastes Good In Disco Heaven. Monaghan’s work ultimately is about indifference and loss, which is illustrated by integrating corporate iconography into pseudo-religious landscapes. His iconic subject matter is both familiar and alien playing on our desires, dreams, and dread. His virtual creations allude to the eerily present dilemma of responsible consumption. By subverting popular commercial culture, Monaghan’s work presents a moral question left unanswered.
Mead Hall by James Rieck and Life Tastes Good in Disco Heaven by Jonathan Monaghan will be on view from September 18 – October 30, 2010, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 18th, from 7-9pm. Please join us!