Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
TAC had the pleasure of witnessing some of the final preparations for the second solo show by LA-based Nouar dropping at the Jonathan LeVine Galllery. Her exhibition, “You Look Good Enough To Eat!” opens February 21, 2009 and the anticipation is palpable. Nouar’s unique voice was previously unleashed at LeVine’s in 2006, to much critical and commercial acclaim. Since then, she’s been quietly working on a new evolution in her painting – her largest scale works yet. In addition, limited edition prints will be available at the show. Her ‘sweet’ visual treats carry a subversive undertone and traverse the dark corners of the mind, all the while being some of the most finely rendered paintings outside of the likes of Mark Ryden. For those fortunate enough to acquire her work, it’s an opportunity to breathe some much needed fresh air into their collections.
An interview and some sneak peeks of her new paintings follow…
Now that you’ve had some time as a gallery artist, do your influences remain the same as when you were an art student?
For the most part, yes, they have remained the same.
I have always let my passions and interests drive the direction of my work.
While I have always been a huge animation and toy enthusiast, when I became a student at Art Center, I started really gaining a deeper appreciation for collecting various types of toys and paper ephemera, as well as vintage animation from the turn, to the mid century.
I continue to regularly go to collector shows, flea markets, garage sales, and have amassed a collection of objects that continue to be part of the springboard for my ideas. My art has also remained a means of cathartic expression. I often use my characters to tell various stories in my life that are often of a deeply personal, or obscure nature.
Food and 1950′s Americana being strong themes in your work, can you elaborate on how this is explored in your upcoming Jonathan LeVine Gallery exhibition?
My new show is titled, ” You Look Good Enough to Eat!”.
This body of work is a collection of paintings that depicts characters involved in situations that foreshadow more complex themes. These invite the viewer to engage in narratives that explore multiple nuances of meaning and connotation.
Many of my characters seem deceptively happy, as they exist in a brightly painted world. But they are usually part of a more complex story line which can be interpreted by the viewer in many different ways. I like to keep the true intent of my messages hidden.
I have always been completely facinated by our massive consumer culture. I often feel everything around us is a commercial, constantly manipulating us into desiring things we don’t really have a need for, or shouldn’t want in the first place.
I think a huge part of this goes back to the industrial boom of the mid-century after the second world war. As technologies grew, so did the amount of product available to the consumer, in this case, food products.
Companies developed more advertising mascots to put happy cartoon faces on their merchandise to encourage consumers to feel comfortable into purchasing these items. With this show, I wanted to explore these themes, and bring out the implied aberrations of the advertising medium.
What are some of your techniques, using various paints in creating your ‘highly-rendered’ images?
Most of my work is typically done with oil paints. I start by doing a few sketches and working out the compositions and characters. After transferring the drawing on to a Gessoed wood (usually birch) panel, I go straight into painting with oils. When I paint my characters, I usually start with a middle value, and work in the darks and lights, as I “mold” them into reality. When I was a student, I would do many value and color studies before settling on the “final” version for execution. Becoming faster and more comfortable with my techniques, I now have more fun developing the pieces and am not slowed down by formal methods.
I also have a handful of pieces in this show that are done with acrylic, and are inspired by the more “graphic” elements of print advertising. These explore relationships of color and design, and are reminicinet to earlier printing methods.
Can you mention your interest in consumer product’? Do you see your work going in that direction in the future?
I would like to see where my characters take me. I am definitly working on concepts for products created based on my characters…as this is my plan for world domination (insert evil laughter).
What is one thing you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
I would love to keep painting and developing my own style. I enjoy doing fine art as it gives me the complete freedom to set my own challenges, and the ability to explore my creativity. As I progress technically, I want to create larger and more involved pieces. I have managed to divide my time between studio/collaborative projects while being an artist/illustrator. I would like to combine the two at some point in the future.