by Natasha Walter
Do you like the idea of a comfortable home enhanced by abundant art? If so, you’ll like what Image Dump Exhibitions has to offer. Strolling down 6th Street NE, the gallery home may seem to be nothing out of the ordinary, but walk inside and you’re treated to inviting rooms bejeweled with paintings, drawings and prints by Keegan Wenkman and Ted Quinn in a show entitled Gorgeous and New.
Keegan Wenkman’s work is distinguished by an inventive array of characters.
Each sullen portrayal represents a penetrating observation by an astute artist.
In one painting, a lanky girl rides her miniature bicycle on a lonely street,
in another a darkly poetic man slumps his head forward as a pint-sized pig,
unnoticed, crawls up his torso. Isolated and pensive, both look out from the
canvas with bemused but searing expressions.
of these images are inspired by strangers encountered in Wenkman’s everyday
life. One characteristic painting portrays a man resting on the sidewalk, impassively
squinting into the distance, his beard providing sanctuary for his sallow skin.
Considering the mystery that naturally surrounds a stranger and the places strangers
characterize, the painting is appropriately titled “9th and Nicollet.”
If you don’t find these grim personalities compelling, the colors on the
canvas will surely work their magic on you. Heated blues burst out of the sky,
cold Minnesota noses are saturated with soft reds. These are not stiff Crayola
bolds, but surreally cheerful colors that eerily contrast with the shockingly
dismal expressions of the people at their center. The hues are particularly
compelling because each subject is shrewdly painted on a simple background,
emphasizing their dour and inscrutable personalities.
Ted Quinn’s glue prints include such startling images as an up-close look
at uneven teeth or a lone chicken staring down the viewer. Elegant and economic,
these images are surprising in their beauty. Quinn’s unusual prints evoke
the qualities of dilapidated city walls. The prints’ surfaces are intentionally
worn away, pulled apart and abraded. Such features evoke the roughed-up qualities
of billboards and street art.
Quinn’s Xylene prints focus on the body and its relationship to war and
femininity. A bewitchingly beautiful woman’s face is literally turned
on its head and layered with an alphabet of symbols. In this way, Quinn explores
the meaning of shared cultural beliefs. Further probing this inexhaustible subject,
Quinn superimposes images of soldiers on a bikini-clad woman. This tension drives
the rich content into an intensely provocative union of beauty and violence.
Additionally, Quinn manipulates text by overlaying images on faded pages of
books. Torn from their original home, each page is enhanced with black and white
photographic images, illuminating the text that lies behind the suggestive images.
A testament to the strength of coupling image and text, these pages signal the
viewer to contemplate the imaginative act inherent in reading. The two together
complement one another, swaying the images toward the prose quality of text
and enticing the text toward the aesthetic quality of image. ||
Gorgeous & New runs through April 16 at Image Dump Exhibitions, 1118
6th St. NE, Mpls. 612-379-2133. Gallery hours are Sat.–Sun. noon–4