On 38th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), the Last Rites Gallery’s current exhibition, “Transfigure”, features the works of Alex Garant, Sarah Joncas, and Oda and King. All of their pieces vary tremendously, but have a similar tone of mysticism and darkness. In fact, the gallery has a mysterious quality to it: the room is darkly lit with dramatic lighting, there are interestingly eerie furniture such as an octopus chandelier and the background music creates an ominous atmosphere.
Upon walking into the space, the viewer is first introduced to the fairly large, hyper realistic paintings of Kit King and Corey Oda. With their strange yet alluring content and composition, the couple is able to capture an individual’s attention with their beautifully painted, intricate portraits.
Contrasting the works of Oda and King, the haunting, illustrative oil paintings by the Canadian artist Sarah Joncas are presented opposite of the realistic pieces by the pair. With a fantasy-like quality, her pieces evoke a sense of curiosity and interest in the viewer, as the females in the portraits look mysteriously elegant and distant. In each of her paintings, there is a portrait of a beautifully rendered, idealistic female with a cold gaze and a whimsical background, which also supports the menacing mood that the artist has established.
Alex Garant, another Canadian artist whose works also have an illustrative trait to them, uses the female portrait similarly to Joncas, but instead of accurately depicting the subject, she distorts the face, which creates an interesting form of movement. From repeating the shape and form of the figure on top of one another, the onlooker’s eye attempts to process the confusing elements of the painting, which in return, creates a dizzying and hypnotizing effect. The use of hues and the stylized version of the female resembles characters that would be found in a fairytale from a child’s book. Although her pieces possess an innocent appearance, there is an undertone of darkness and mystery that wonderfully juxtaposes the youthful qualities.
The Last Rites Gallery is different from other galleries you will come across: not only are the walls not hygienically white, but the aura and environment of the space will make it feel as though you have stepped into a realm of obscurity. There is also a second level, which has a medieval-looking bar and more artworks that share the similar ambiguously mysterious feeling that the works on the main floor by Garant Joncas and Oda and King evoke boldly.
TRANSFIGURE AT LAST RITES GALLERY
Alex Garant, Sarah Joncas, and Oda and King
August 22nd – October 3rd, 2015
Writing by Ilsoon Jeon
Photographs provided by the gallery and the artist.
OPENING NIGHT PHOTOS