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Happily Until Their Deaths

Ryan Travis Christian, David Jien, Adrienne Kammerer, Toshio Saeki

Runs October 20 – November 28, 2015

Recently I rewatched footage from the 1937 Walt Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Though it had been years since I had seen the film, specific imagery and animation sequences remained conspicuously intact to memory. The overwhelming immersive experience of beauty, fantasy, horror and betrayal had unintentionally wormed itself deep within my heart and mind, affecting my emotions just as it had upon my first viewing. I found a recognizable terror rising up at the transformation of the witch, climaxing at Snow White’s bite into the seductively poisoned apple. The Disney film, while benign in comparison to the original Brothers Grimm tale, sustains its effectiveness in permeating our consciousness through use of innately familiar parables that illustrate elementary human emotion through metaphor.

The adeptly conceived visuals we are exposed to when our young minds are naive and absorbent creep along our synapses, fusing and firing, connecting an individual to their own subconscious. Japanese artist Toshio Saeki often speaks about the horror movies he would see as a child, inspiring nightmarish hallucinations in his waking life, satiated only by realizing these bizarre situations through drawing. David Jien uses intricate drawings and surreal narratives to express personal fears and desires, each character representing a form of himself through an invented allegorical future history. Ryan Travis Christian‘s work is influenced by memory and evokes a feverish experience as though we’ve tapped directly into a traversable wormhole within his brain. His drawings often reference signature cartoon imagery such as googly eyes and gloved hands, their features animating off the page in loops of familiarity; entertaining our eyes while rattling our senses. Adrienne Kammerer spent the last year traveling, researching mythology and fables and now resides in Germany. Through her drawings she combines contemporary image culture spread through technological social systems with historic fables. The results reveal a hybrid narrative laced with monsters and witches existing in an abstracted time and place.

“Happily Until Their Deaths” was once a popular concluding pronouncement to fairy tales in the 1600s. This eventually softened into the more familiar “happily ever after”. The original text offers a starker reality, a darker realization that perhaps there are no happy endings but merely happy stopping places and that the release we experience within these moments of hallucinatory escapism are one of life’s provoking pleasures. If this is all in our heads, we invite you take comfort in the shared experience of storytelling offered through the channeling of subconscious narratives depicted through the drawings of Ryan Travis Christian, David Jien, Adrienne Kammerer, and Toshio Saeki.

Text by Kristin Weckworth, Curator

Happily Until Their Deaths runs from Oct 20-Nov 28.
There will be a free public opening reception Tuesday October 20 from 5-8pm.


For additional information or artwork availability, please contact the gallery:
info@narwhalcontemporary.com
647-346-5317

INSTALLATION PHOTOS

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RYAN TRAVIS CHRISTIAN
Ryan Travis Christian’s idiosyncratic style of drawing densely layers intensities of graphite pencil in graphic yet amorphous stylistic flourishes. His figures, inspired by UbIwerks, George Condo and the Hairy Who, are rendered in both high contrast and slow motion and inserted into hazy sfumato-esque landscapes and skewed spaces alike that repeatedly melt and coalesce. Christian’s surreal personal narratives are fueled by the absurdity of life in his small, suburban-Chicago hometown with recurring themes of, but not limited to; fires, wheelchairs, heavy petting, fireworks, drug and alcohol usage, rivers, boats, beat up cars, death, homes, speed bumps, and cats.

Ryan Travis Christian’s (b. 1983 Oakland, CA) solo shows include the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC; Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco, Halsey McKay in East Hampton, NY and Cooper Cole in Toronto, and has been included in group shows in London, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Dallas and Los Angeles His work has been written about in frieze, art ltd, Art Papers, New American Paintings, Daily Serving, Indy Week and the Associated Press. New City named Christian as one of Chicago’s “Breakout Artists” for 2010 and named by the same publication as one of Chicago’s “Top 50 Artists’ Artists” in 2012. DAZED recently named Christian as one of the “top ten artists working with monochrome.” He lives and works in the Chicagoland area.

» Ryan Travis Christian CV

Ryan Travis ChristianTurn That Clown Upside Down,2014 Graphite and ink on paper 30 x 41 inches, 34 ¾ x 46 framed

Ryan Travis Christian
Turn That Clown Upside Down, 2014
Graphite and ink on paper
30 x 41 inches, 34 ¾ x 46 framed

Ryan Travis ChristianRoof Off, 2014Graphite on paper. 29 x 40 in.

Ryan Travis Christian
Roof Off, 2014
Graphite on paper. 29 x 40 in.

Ryan Travis ChristianPerceived Failure Drawing #82, 2014Acrylic on paper. 12.5 x 10.75 in. unframed 17.5 x 15.5 in. framed

Ryan Travis Christian
Perceived Failure Drawing #82, 2014
Acrylic on paper. 12.5 x 10.75 in. unframed 17.5 x 15.5 in. framed

Ryan Travis ChristianWiggle Room, 2014Graphite on paper. 17.75 x 15.75 in. unframed

Ryan Travis Christian
Wiggle Room, 2014
Graphite on paper. 17.75 x 15.75 in. unframed

Ryan Travis ChristianGarden Hits, Volume 2, 2014Enamel on plaster and rocks 7 wide x 7 deep x 3 in. high, each.

Ryan Travis Christian
Garden Hits, Volume 2, 2014
Enamel on plaster and rocks
7 wide x 7 deep x 3 in. high, each.

DAVID JIEN
David Jien makes intricately detailed drawings about an overarching narrative set in an allegorical future history, in which a cast of protagonist ( the whoriders, led by their king, Yasha Moshia) fight and defend against the evil and conniving Lizard men, commanded by their beautiful prince Adin Shakran. In a way the characters function as self portraits. Through them, David can express his deepest hopes, concerns, regrets and desires. He is a whorider, he is a lizardman.

David Jien(b. 1981 Los Angeles, CA), graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2009, he lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Jien has participated in group shows in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami. He recently had his second solo exhibition at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

David JienStop Scaler, 2015Graphite, color pencil, and gouache on paper. 8.5 x 11 in. unframed

David Jien
Stop Scaler, 2015
Graphite, color pencil, and gouache on paper. 8.5 x 11 in. unframed

David JienWretch, 2014Color pencil, graphite on paper. 8.5 x 11 in. unframed

David Jien
Wretch, 2014
Color pencil, graphite on paper. 8.5 x 11 in. unframed

David JienSpace Jam, 2011Color pencil, graphite, gouache and holographic film on paper

David Jien
Space Jam, 2011
Color pencil, graphite, gouache and holographic film on paper

David JienShakran/Murda Musik, 2012Color pencil, graphite, gouache and holographic film on paper, 11x17in

David Jien
Shakran/Murda Musik, 2012
Color pencil, graphite, gouache and holographic film on paper, 11x17in

ADRIENNE KAMMERER
Adrienne Kammerer is a Berlin-based artist working primarily in graphite. Kammerer’s subject matter traverses the timeless narratives of light and darkness, what is known and unknown and those murky grounds that encapsulate both. The worlds her work inhabit have no fixed point, conjuring up vague pasts and/or futures outside the modern paradigm of quantified space and time. Kammerer’s work, while undeniably gothic and rooted in a tradition of graphite image-making, relies on the meticulous culling of the vast visual archives of references and symbology made available by the internet.

» Adrienne Kammerer CV

Adrienne KammererA Terrible Alliance , 2015Graphite on paper. 19.5 x 13.5 in. unframed, 27.5 x 21.75 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
A Terrible Alliance , 2015
Graphite on paper. 19.5 x 13.5 in. unframed, 27.5 x 21.75 in. framed

Adrienne KammererWandering through the Wildwood , 2015Graphite on paper.12.25 x 11.5 in. unframed, 19.75 x 19.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
Wandering through the Wildwood , 2015
Graphite on paper.12.25 x 11.5 in. unframed, 19.75 x 19.5 in. framed

Adrienne KammererA Wistfull Amphibian, 2015Graphite on paper. 11.25 x 8 in. unframed, 18.5 x 15.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
A Wistfull Amphibian, 2015
Graphite on paper. 11.25 x 8 in. unframed, 18.5 x 15.5 in. framed

Adrienne KammererThe Malevolent Metacarpus, 2015Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
The Malevolent Metacarpus, 2015
Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne KammererThe Riddlers Robe, 2015Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
The Riddlers Robe, 2015
Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne KammererThe Troublesome Tailwagger, 2015Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
The Troublesome Tailwagger, 2015
Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne KammererA Cruel Ceremony, 2015Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

Adrienne Kammerer
A Cruel Ceremony, 2015
Graphite on paper. 7 x 10 in. unframed, 10.25 x 13.5 in. framed

TOSHIO SAEKI
Born in 1945 in Miyazaki, Japan, Saeki gained notoriety in the 1970’s for his avant garde approach, connecting traditional Japanese art styles such as Shunga (erotica) and Yokaiga (mythology) with postmodern radical pop art culture. Over the past 40 years Saeki has developed a dedicated cult following, which continues to expand significantly. Saeki has had solo exhibitions in Japan, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, New York and San Francisco. Over a dozen publications of his collected works have been printed including Saeki Toshio Gashu, Akai-hako (Red Box), Chimushi I, and Chimushi II, Yume Manji (Dream Swastika) and Onikage. Celebrated cross culturally, Saeki has also been immortalized in the Ju-on horror films which play homage to his child spirit and has contributed album artwork for several international musicians including John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He presently lives and works in the small town of Ichihara, Chiba, Japan.

Toshio Saeki Shitagokuu, 1987 11.75 x 15.5 in. Ink on paper, vellum.

Toshio Saeki
Shitagokuu, 1987
11.75 x 15.5 in. Ink on paper, vellum.

Toshio Saeki Nodokagawa 11.75 x 18.25in. Ink on paper, vellum. 1977

Toshio Saeki
Nodokagawa, 1977

11.75 x 18.25in. Ink on paper, vellum.

Toshio Saeki Yaetsubue 11.75 x 17 in. Ink on paper, vellum 1986

Toshio Saeki

Yaetsubue

11.75 x 17 in. Ink on paper, vellum

1986

Toshio SaekiUntitled, 2013Signed letterpress. Edition of 25. 15 x 23 in.

Toshio Saeki
Untitled, 2013
Signed letterpress. Edition of 25. 15 x 23 in.

Toshio SaekiUntitled II, 2013Signed letterpress. Edition of 25. 15 x 23 in. unframed

Toshio Saeki
Untitled II, 2013
Signed letterpress. Edition of 25. 15 x 23 in. unframed

For additional information or artwork availability, please contact the gallery:
info@narwhalprojects.com
647-346-5317