My work seeks to explore the nature of humanity and to express the inherent complexity and mystery of our relationships to the world we live in and to each other. Combining familiar imagery in unfamiliar ways, I invent scenarios that can be thought of as puzzles with no right or wrong solutions—and perhaps no solutions for them are possible at all. These puzzles are analogous to the changing and perpetually unresolved nature of life itself.
The multiplicity of possible readings of symbolisms in my work is central to my concept. However, there are certain elements that I see as being symbols or metaphors for specific aspects of human experience. In my sculptural work there is a particular emphasis on the play between the interior and the exterior. Small figures timidly peering out through windows and doors from inside hybrid architectural/bodily forms symbolize a human desire for an unattainable sense of security. The mysterious, hidden, interior spaces of my sculptures speak about the disparity between our external appearances and the aspects of our inner selves that are unknowable by others. The scenarios in my work usually seem to suggest that some sort of performance is taking place, partially due to the vaguely circus-like imagery that I often use. This idea of performance in my work can be seen as a metaphor for the the performance aspect that exists in each of our lives. We each find ourselves in certain situations in which we must “act”. Our lives can be seen as being made up of a series of these situations.
Certain elements in my work make nostalgic references to earlier periods in history. The dress of the figures I invent often recalls styles of the 19th century. Other elements in my work even have a medieval look. I'm interested in this historical quality as a way of creating distance from the reality we are familiar with, thereby encouraging the viewer to use his or her imagination while contemplating these scenarios.
Life is amazingly complex and perpetually filled with unanswerable questions, yet each of us must find a way to make some kind of sense of it all. It is in human nature to simplify the world around us so it can be better understood and articulated, but there is inevitably much that is missed when we do this. It is our condition of limited understanding of reality that prompts us to dream and to use our imaginations. My work addresses this condition. ~ Avery Palmer
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Craig LaRotonda received his BFA in 1992 at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he studied with the internationally renowned illustrator Alan Cober. Currently working as a professional painter, illustrator, and sculptor, Craig divides his time between each endeavor.
LaRotonda's richly layered paintings are provocative; his signature iconic style is reminiscent of Renaissance and Byzantine art while remaining boldly contemporary. His work possesses a dark narrative and grotesque elegance. These distorted creatures are captured in a timeless space — surviving the brutality and beauty of existence. Craig's ability to make deformities and oddities become aesthetically magnificent is what makes his art so unique.
His paintings and sculptures incorporate mixed media and aging techniques, ultimately creating surreal figurative works. LaRotonda's artwork graces the walls of famous homes including collectors in France, Germany, Norway, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
Through his relationship with Film Art LA, his acclaimed art appears prominently in television and five feature-length motion pictures - including the Academy Award winning film "Traffic" directed by Steven Soderbergh, and "The Other Guys" with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
LaRotonda's striking and unique art has been featured in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Juxtapoz, The New York Times and numerous other publications. This commercial work has received awards from the Society of Illustrators (in New York and Los Angeles), Communication Arts and Print Magazine.
Exhibitions include solo shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Paris. Craig also exhibits regularly in group shows nationally and abroad.
Lee Harvey Roswell is a self-taught artist from Freefall, New York, whose work is noted for its blend of angst and humor. Themes of death and entropy, tribulation and futility run amok in his distinctly surreal, often-slapstick/ often-nightmarish world. The result is at once mocking and melancholic. For the past decade plus his attention has turned almost exclusively to oil painting, though it's always a surprise what direction he'll steer things next. Lee now lives in San Francisco, and his work is shown, collected and published internationally.