We are excited to welcome Redd Walitzki's return to the gallery this month with her latest series, 'Exquisite Corpse'. These new paintings explore the relationship between entropy and new growth all with Walitzki's signature laser-cut panels and flawless technique. All images courtesy of the artist.
ME: How would you sum up the theme of your exhibition?
RW: The theme of this exhibition deals with the natural cycles of decay, and the surprising beauty that arises from it. I was originally inspired by the Surrealist parlor-game "Exquisite Corpse,” where artists collectively assemble a composition from the same point of origin. My sister (and frequent collaborator) Roxanna and I wanted to combine our pursuits of art and music into a project together. We wanted to pair the visual elements I’m exploring with songs that depict similar scenes, and this back and forth dialogue shaped the work in this series. The theme grew especially from the Surrealist nonsense-phrase that the game is named after, “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”
While beginning the series, I discovered a Greek/Roman myth about Chloris, the Goddess of Flowers and Spring. Wandering through the forest, Chloris stumbles upon the lifeless body of a woodland nymph. Saddened by the innocent creature’s fate, Chloris breathes new life into her, transforming the nymph’s body into a flower. This tale was the perfect genesis for the beautiful, yet slightly macabre, pieces I wanted to create, and became the jumping off point for this group of paintings.
ME: How would you describe the aesthetic of your new artwork?
RW:The aesthetic is a lush, opulent, organic, baroque celebration of nature. It translates some of my love of beautiful things and high-fashion concepts into a more natural setting, where berries take the role of pearls, and flowers glitter with dew. But there is a darker side to it as well, and many of the pieces deal with death, and the transformation of decaying things into new life.
ME: How are these works different in terms of style and application than previous works?
RW: This body of work is in a much darker color palette than most of my previous work. I was in love with the visual of the woods at night, and creatures caught in the beam of a flashlight. They are also some of the first pieces in a long time that feature more complex backgrounds (usually my backgrounds are totally abstract watercolor patterns) but I wanted these paintings to be a little more grounded in reality. Painting all that foliage and moss was really crazy!
Part of the initial concept was that all of the cut pieces hung together create one massive coherent image. Like reality has fractured at the seams, and you’re looking at it as a whole, and also as individual little slivers. Hopefully that all pulls together in the installation in the way I’m picturing!
ME: Do you have a favorite piece in the show, or one that was particularly challenging to work on, and why?
RW: The starting point of this show was the title piece, and it really made me push all of my boundaries. This was a sketch that sprung up in my sketchbook a few years ago, which eventually took root and begged to be painted. But my skill level had to catch up to the demands of the piece, its very technically challenging in a lot of areas. Larger scale works are always amazing, but also physically demanding, and there’s so much texture and complexity in the piece that it really forced me to work at a high level. The collaborations between Roxanna and I are always really significant, and this may be my favorite yet!
ME: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
RW: I think a lot of my personality comes across in what I post online, but sometimes in real life I’m a little sillier than people might expect! I have a huge collection of Squishables (cute pillows shaped like donuts and jellyfish) that I like to collapse into after a long painting session, while wearing a stylish sloth onesie of course! ;)
ME: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for other artists?
RW:Just keep working! Especially on those days where it feels a little futile, or you’re discouraged seeing all the incredible things other people are making, really all you can do is put your head down and keep going. Sometimes we all need to turn the internet off, and really get into what were working on. That’s when I remember why I love doing this - those moments where the paint is all there is.
Exquisite Corpse opens October 10, 2015 at Modern Eden.
Aunia Kahn is a multi-faceted creative entrepreneur and a globally awarded, collected, and exhibited figurative artist/photographer, published author, instructor, and inspirational speaker. We asked Aunia a few questions for her artist of the day feature at the gallery.
Since childhood my family inspired me to embark on various creative journeys such as music, poetry, and theater, which are hereditary to the creative approaches I use in my artwork today. From a young age I wrote and performed songs and poetry, as well as acted in a local theater with my whole family. When I came to the US to study art, I joined the school called Safehouse Atelier, which focused on traditional academic drawing and painting, as well as digital concept art.
On February 12, we opened Secret Hallway the highly anticipated solo exhibition from Oakland-based artist Nadezda. Focusing on narratives carefully gathered from the hidden chambers of her imagination and transformed into dreamscapes, her multifaceted artworks are the intimate windows into the inner world of her peculiar characters and creatures.