Jason Shawn Alexander's striking solo show, "Insomnious," features ominous, psychologically charged canvases and drawings. One painting of a two-headed, panty-clad Asian woman uttering a primal scream freezes spectators in their tracks. So does a work depicting a scrawny, two-faced mook dangling from puppet strings next to a naked hag ferociously tugging her own hair. The unsightly crone is painted in a deathly gray pallor, with sagging breasts and mangled genitalia that look like chewed-up bubblegum scraped from under a school desk. Bean, a quirky closeup of a young girl, ratchets up the tension like a slow IV drip. The tyke bends over while clutching her arms tightly to her chest as if suffering from abdominal cramps or a bad dose of strychnine. The self-taught artist has painted a clucking red hen roosting on the lass's noggin, adding to the eerie nature of the composition. Alexander demonstrates an uncanny knack for combining bizarre imagery with a gritty approach to painting that wraps itself like tentacles around one's skull while lashing the imagination into a runaway gallop.
Thu., Nov. 12, 2009