JUAN MUNIZ & JASMINE WORTH with SPECIAL GUESTS
Maryrose Crook, Michael Murphy, and Bunnie Reiss
reviewed by Julie Faith
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
August 5-28, 2016
La Luz de Jesus Gallery is currently presenting a compelling group show: Juan Muniz and Jasmine Worth with Special Guests Maryrose Crook, Michael Murphy, and Bunnie Reiss. Although there is clearly a theme of Modernism to the show, a more subtle thread seems to be each artist’s interpretation of their immediate domain. The show runs August 5-28, 2016.
Juan Muniz juanmunizart.com
For years, artists have repurposed the free priority postage stickers found by the dozens at the United States Postal Service for graffiti and street art. Walk around the city with a keen eye and you will find street signs, newsstands, utility boxes, pretty much anything and everything covered with them. So just imagine my absolute delight (picture that kid-in-a-candy-store moment) when I walked into Juan Muniz’s bigger than life Postal installation. Muniz has a charming sense of humor and playful take on the legendary USPS labels deeming them Priority Art “For Domestic Vandalism Use” and “By Street Priority”. His endearing cartoon-y bunny character, Felipe, navigates through various predicaments of love, life, and technology.
Jasmine Worth jasmineworth.com
In Stigma, Jasmine Worth walks the line between the sacred and the visceral in her latest exploration of traditional religious and female iconography. Her attention to detail and the exquisite, dreamlike faces of her subjects exemplify Worth’s theme of victory over affliction.
Worth explains in her statement, “the damage wreaked by a world consumed with consuming and the triumph of those who seek a different path. This message can be seen in the obvious wounds sustained by her central characters and their startling resilience. The message being only when we realize that the earth and people are not possessions to be exploited can we begin to heal.”
Maryrose Crook Maryrosecrook.com
From across the gallery, Maryrose Crook’s elegant, Victorian style dresses ‘Nigredo’ and ‘Virgin Queen’ dominate the room. It’s not until you get closer that it becomes apparent they are fashioned from flora and fauna. In fact, all of Crook’s works in Nigredo, each composed of masterfully rendered textures, luminous lights, and shadowy darks, catch you off guard in that they reveal such unexpected surprises.
Michael Murphy supersonicmodern.com
My first perception of Michael Murphy‘s Desert Layover was, “Oooh, 1950’s Santa Monica” and then my mind drifted to the sensibilities of the artist Shag and Hanna-Barbera’s The Jetsons. Murphy’s study of Southern California Dingbat and Googie architecture is not only historically accurate, it incorporates his own imaginings of the Modern design era. The spectacular interpretation of structures in his paintings can be attributed to Murphy’s background in architecture but it’s his color palettes and vague environments around the buildings that allow the personal associations of the viewer, i.e. The Jetsons, to emerge.
Bunnie Reiss bunniereiss.com
Bunnie Reiss’s whimsical All Our Nature exhibit is pure multi-colored joy. Vibrant, harlequin-esque characters wearing tiny ruby slippers frolic through silver-gilt clouds and embroidered gardens. Reiss is a storyteller, and here she tells a tale of fearlessly finding one’s true self in a world dominated by technology, “I want us to remember before we could remember where our nature came from, how we all lived in harmony, how we survived on the trees, the air, and the soft moss under our hoofs.”