The Lost Children of Art, I Suppose

Encinitas : CA

Melissa Inez Walker is a super kind gal and owner of the Distinction Gallery and Artist Studios in Encinitas about 35 minutes north of San Diego. On Saturday (May 8) I headed over to her gallery to say thank you for coming out to Thursday’s “Survey Select” fundraiser and check out the latest installation “The Lost Children” by Jana Brike.

Secrets of Little Eve : The Little Meat Shop of Maria : The Butterfly Catcher

To prepare before viewing this collection of work, I researched Jana Brike and learned that she was born in Riga, Latvia and as she describes, “irresistibly inspired by the colorful imagery of the western pop culture. . .ballet. . .catholic church ceremonies. . .and received a Fine Arts Master’s degree in painting in the Art Academy of Latvia.” Jana’s online display, including her 2009 collections, “Family Archive” and “Science of Sleep,” seemed to be a derivative mix of today’s emerging artists Mark Ryden and Ray Caesar.

Ray Caesar : Consort : Precious

In 2009, Ray Caesar, Jonathan LeVine and I collaborated together to create the first volume of Ray Caesar’s digital realm. No small accomplishment, after one year in the making and cataloging an immense collection of Ray’s tireless creations over ten years, the finished book is a testament of an artist who might be considered the first outsider digital artist. Ray’s book is full of other worldly creatures who inhabit Victorian inspired dream worlds. Ray’s work makes personal reference to intimate worlds created from life’s untimely circumstance. I mention this, as I walked into the Distinction Gallery on Saturday confronted with an artist who had taken a page directly out of Ray Caesar’s virtual world.

Ray Caesar : A Song for the Dearly Departed study : Distant Thunder study : Silent Whispers

Jana Bricke’s latest, “The Lost Children” is a direct reference to some of Ray Caesar’s digital techniques, characters, colors and artificial adornments onto the human form. It seems that Jana’s work enciphered “A Song for the Dearly Departed,” “Distant Thunder” and “Silent Whispers” in her awkward rendition of “Flower Girl from Central Avenue.” In addition, Jana’s “Honeydew Eater” finds a stylish addition to her piece from Ray’s “Foreign Tongue” study. And on. . .

Flower Girl from Central Avenue : Honeydew Eater

“Why do I bring this up?” “Why did this display affect me? It seems that artists who practice within the current ill-labeled art themes of “Pop Surrealism” and “Low Brow” are jumping into “art fashion,” the result of borrowing repetitive themes found in popular and emerging artist’s work. (A reassembly of art flavor). For me, neither of these mentioned art movements describe the artists I work with, however, the delicate point articulated here within is simple, “The tertiary art scene is riddled with ‘art fashion’ derivative of living artists.”

Transformations : Sailor Hiding in a Rose Garden 2009 : Flower Collector 2009 :
The Little Flower Grower 2010

“Art fashion” is an attempt for tertiary artists to harvest works that feature characteristics of today’s popular cool. For example: striped dunce hats (Nathan Ota), squid legs and arms (Jeff Soto), extra-large eyes (Mark Ryden and Sas Christian), one large eye and one small eye (Joe Sorren), and on and on. (Whatever happened to worshiping artists from another age? It would take a lifetime to imitate Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1571-1610 or Gian Lorenzo Bernini 1598-1680).

Caravaggio : Self Portrait as Bacchus and Bernini : Ecstasy of St. Theresa

My feeling is that a gallery full of derivative work represents a hustle of overpriced garage sale items that fail to represent artistic voice; and hurried school children that pulled one over on their out of touch college professor; and spoiled art poser who over exaggerates the complexities of life. The practitioners of “art fashion,” ( also could be scribed as “hack” art), will soon force the very art movements they believe to be participating into extinction.

Jacques-Louis David : Herman Henstenburgh

“The Lost Children” by Jana Bricke is a fitting title for work that might get lost amongst those thirsty for rendition at a much higher performance level. You are invited to try and copy Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825 or Herman Henstenburgh 1667 – 1726 and celebrate the past, celebrating your mastery into the distant future. For now, education and further examination of these topics is important to establish correct artistic credit and value.

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