Edge

RETRO VIOLENCE

For the Wild Seduction Gallery, lackluster material has never been a problem. Keeping in their tradition of housing some of the most shocking and interactive art, their latest show, Violent Art, features a diverse collection of artists’ takes on old-school violence including Robert Preston, Adan Hernandez, Charles Krafft, Herman Makkink, and a special showing from William Cordova.
Charles Krafft’s talent as a painter and his trip to war-torn Yugoslavia in 1995 left him wanting to bring home the true terror he had experienced there. He acquired weapons while abroad and made molds of them, which were later formed into white porcelain models of the originals. Krafft’s hand-painted Delft porcelain seems too delicate for the forms in which it has been so lovingly shaped. Almost perverted by the weaponry it has become, his pieces lay gently in red velvet boxes decked out with pseudo-Dutch scenes of country landscapes in blue porcelain. Krafft’s pieces seem less blatantly violent as others in the show, and serve more to give the viewer a taste of what has passed and what will never be forgotten.
Images of crime scenes and crash sites are touchy subjects for most these days. Robert Preston recreated ’50s and ’60s crime scene photographs of his late father onto oil canvases. Colors strangely authentic to the time had to be created by Preston to convey the period and feeling of the photos. As a self-proclaimed “narrative painter,” his pieces offer a taste of history like Krafft’s, but these images are more deliberate.
“Electra Crash, 1960,” a photo of the Lockheed Electra plane crash which lost 63 lives is a perfect example of the kind of feeling or remembrance the artist conveys with these paintings. Still strapped into their airplane seats, passengers’ limbs fall limp onto the shores of a beach at dusk, the skin at the top of their heads seemingly peeled back as one onlooker smokes a cigarette and gazes over the tragedy that befell those people.
Arguably one of the most deceptively violent pieces of the exhibit is Herman Makkink’s “The Rocking Machine,” best remembered from the movie A Clockwork Orange. To accompany (and explain) Makkink’s work, the WSG plays a short 7-10 minute vignette from the movie showing two of the artist’s most famous pieces. The movie serves as a means to show how the giant fiberglass penis (29″(l) x 18″(w) x 16″(h)) and female ass was used to bludgeon an annoying British bourgeois to death in her home. The definitive answer to the taboo question: “Is bigger really better?”
Capturing the everyday struggles of the San Antonio barrio he grew up in, Adan Hernandez has given the lives of impoverished Hispanics a new light. His artwork captured media attention back in 91′ when La Bomba director Taylor Heckford asked him to create artwork for his movie Blood In…Blood Out.
Since then, a close eye has been kept on the artist as his painting of gang violence, murders, and revenge have echoed the voices of a powerful people. Hernandez’s merciless passion to bring the voices of Hispanics to the forefront of an art-world ignorant to them leaves the paintings offering something deeper than just subterranean blues and cinematic poses.
Violent Art is at the Wild Seduction Gallery, 2762 NW 22nd St., Miami, through June 14. Call 305-633-8951 for more info.

March 25, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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