Jon Rappleye: In Tangled Splendor
May 9 – June 29, 2014
“My work is a flight of the imagination, taking place in an uncertain future and inspired by an unknowable past.”
— Jon Rappleye
Jon Rappleye’s paintings invite us to enter a world that is part science fiction and part fairy tale. In this fantastic world an eclectic mix of animals, birds and insects inhabits a mysterious terrain. It seems as if we are on a distant, though somewhat familiar planet—a world that resembles the way our own world might look after a cataclysmic event. Everything that survives is altered. The unworldly colors of the sky are beautiful but suggest a toxic atmosphere. Trees are devoid of color, yet they produce brightly colored leaves and flowers. Some of the animals are mutants, combining characteristics of different species: birds grow antlers, an octopus clings to a tree, owls have glowing starry eyes. The only hint of human habitation is the eerie presence of several skulls. All of the circuits in this strange world have been crossed and Nature is regenerating in new and unexpected ways.
These multi-layered paintings combine intricate black and white drawing with glowing washes of color. The tree trunks and limbs and all of the living creatures are rendered in black and white, lending a stark and frozen quality to the scenes; the artist heats them up with gloriously colored backgrounds. Despite their somewhat unsettling content, the sheer beauty of these works overtakes us with their mix of sublime landscape and surrealist dreamscape. In Rappleye’s imagined universe, plants and animals live together in a tangled splendor of fantasy and reality.
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