Kirk Demarais at Gallery 1988-Venice

Pick of the week for May 14th, 2012

Every so often you stumble upon something fresh which blows the cobwebs of pretension off your eyelids. Such was the effect seeing the colored pencil drawings of Kirk Demarais at Gallery 1988 in Venice. The artist has carved an amusing little paradigm for himself. From the treasure trove of recent film and television series, Demarais creates family portraits of fictional characters. The color pencil renditions are exquisitely awkward and set off in thrift store frames which further accents their yard sale quality. The thought of creating a fiction from fiction is unapologetically fetching. Thankfully the execution matches the concept.

Kirk Demarais, The Torrances

Seeing a smiling family snapshot, a la the Sears portrait studio, of Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall and their son “Danny” from The Shinning immediately indexes the narrative of the Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. It also acts as a sly “Before” to the film’s “After.”

Kirk Demarais, The McDunnoughs

The narratives vary from portrait to portrait, going dark sometimes and remaining breezy other times. Throughout, anyone with a pop culture predilection, smiles with recognition. Questions also abound: Why is the patriarch of the Bluth family missing from the Arrested Development Family? The snapshot of Nick Cage and Holly Hunter from Raising Arizona seems to have been taken after the film’s narrative because the child is older. And then there are the Drapers from Mad Men which becomes a marital before and after.

Kirk Demarais, The McClanes

Lastly, Demarais uses the actual family portrait of the McClane’s from Die Hard thus deferring to the existent narrative. This works because the desktop portrait plays a narrative role in the film.

Witty conceptual work always runs the risk of gossamer resonance. These works seems to avoid the “chuckle and forget” ephemeral nature though. Even the artist’s signature becomes a brand in the lower right hand corner. Idea, scale, context, execution and even price seem in perfect harmony.

A special shout out must be made to Sarah Jo Romeo of Schroeder, Romeo & Shredder Gallery in NYC for posting one of the Demarais’ works on Facebook in the first place. Thanks Sarah Jo!

Kirk Demarais at Gallery 1988 runs through June 2nd, 2012

-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, May 15th, 2012


also by Mario M. Muller

One response to “Kirk Demarais at Gallery 1988-Venice”

  1. Love this! Thanks, Mario, for the shout-out and glad my humble post on fb led you to this.

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