Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Long, long ago in an art studio far, far away...

Bummm.. Bumm....
bump... bump... bump... bahm bum.
bump... bump... bump... bahm bum.

Bump Bump Bump PAAAAA.

Un parte Trois, Tres, Tri... get ready, everyone... It's the premiere of The Musings' first ever...TRILOGY!!

Mind you, this comes very late in the game, but let's just say things have been shifting around quite a bit as of late, and I'm trying to hold onto some footing.

Either way, at the end of July I had a fabulous visit again with Johnny LeValley (at right in legendary Keith Richards mode) at his majestic 75 Greene Street studio space in Soho.

I watched him hard at work on some interesting new creations, and got the opportunity to once again look at some of my own personal faves of his that I had previously overlooked.

LeValley is also taking on an even greater role in not holding back on cultural and political commentary.

Much of his current work highlights how our nation-building destructive tendencies have overtaken the globe, with the onslaught of the good old U.S.of A. bringing globalization to each and every front door, whether invited or not.

There is no part of the studio space that is untouched by art-- even the toy soldiers take on a different meaning, given their placement on the mantelpiece to protect and destroy anything that crosses their path.

Also, this time around I took a really good hard look at Ksenia Hovden's paintings, and I must say her work is truly beautiful in its mastery of light, shadow, and in-your-face "fuck off" message.

Giving the finger never looked so good than at right.

Her hues of cold blues and purples here bring to mind a Bram Stoker nightmare, perhaps with some extra Eduardian cuffs-- that is, until you see the background of a LeValley work in the back.

It's a nice inclusion of a "piece within a piece," and highlights how Hovden and LeValley have such an ease and respect for one another in their working relationship as well as private.

Congratulations are in order for the couple, as they shortly will return to New York from their Norwegian nuptuals.

Also accompanied everywhere by Luna, the small grey gallery cat, the hour whizzed by as we discussed the meaning of art "scenes," the inspiration for his work, and his future plans for the reviving of Le Jungle.

If my mind moved literally 10% as much as LeValley's, I might have taken over the world by now, but alas, it woefully does not.

For Christ's sake-- check this pic out-- even the freakin' cat is an art lover!

(of course, canvas does hold heat in pretty well, I'm certain, so she's fairly comfy)

After this visit, I must state that the best quality about Mr. LeValley is his wide-eyed enthusiasm for art, and I keep looking, but can find no pessimism or bitter taste taking root, even if he has had some previous unfortunate experiences.

There is some serious positivity going here with him, and this is part of my fascination with him, his work, and the artists he surrounds himself with.

During our visit, this darling young lady-- Dory Disaster is her name-- came by and serenaded us with her ukelele and stunningly beautiful singing voice.

Where else in New York City, or this planet, can you go for a gallery/studio visit and also experience an impromptu concert?

10 stars for her, by far, (I loved her and her music) and am anxiously awaiting my next run-in with the young star in the making.

Sorry for the aside here, but that's what you can expect when you get to know LeValley and his traveling troupe of troubadours, court jesters, and art types of all backgrounds.

It truly is like Warhol's Factory has been recreated-- except this time the leader's not gay, far better looking and surrounds himself with down to earth beautiful people who take far less drugs.

But let's get back to the art.

Once again, as in this previous work from the past above, LeValley's strength is in layering and framework.

Take for instance, his interesting new series of works that utilizes a peacock symbol against a sunny, day-glo background with pinks and golds that seem to be a commentary on how our society trivializes serious subjects, such as war, famine, and death.

I love how LeValley frames the work with the crisscrossing lines.

It's a nice way to emphasize how there's many different viewpoints from whatever way you look at a subject-- whether it be a piece of art, or an issue of our culture at hand.

For instance, though our goverment continually says it wants peace, our actions speak much louder.

Again, the peacock shows itself as a facade for something much darker underneath the brilliant colors.

Nice job by LeValley with this series.

He's fast becoming an expert at storytelling with his pieces-- showing how pop culture takes over, and glosses over the ugly underbelly of corruption and hypocrisy with a candy-coated sheen.

Though the peacock may be a bird of visual beauty, it has a fairly violent temperament.

A Goddess of War, perhaps, as she seemingly floats over the desert, preparing for her next battle.

Next, let's look at my favorite work of Ksenia's.

I'm unsure of the titles of these works-- I'm hoping LeValley will provide them for future editing purposes.

In this piece, Hovden excels at transmitting the sheer visual power of two lovers locked in sensual embrace.

But though their bodies seem to coalesce as one, they are behind bars; a nice take on no matter how intimate our lives can seem, there's always something caging us in, whether it's self-inflicted or imposed through other means.

There's also quite a voyeuristic aspect to this work as well-- especially living in New York, where many of our bedrooms have these mechanisms to "protect" us and our belongings, or more accurately, "fence us in."

I also like to look at this piece and view it as a commentary on the beauty between two people in love.

Is modern city living making us view closeness as "trapping us in," or love as a "prison of the heart?"

Hovden is an expert at giving a nice flow to line of the bodies, totally at peace with one another, and grasping hands tightly in a moment of sheer passion.

Another nice piece of Hovden's is this little kitty work at left.

For some reason, with the exclusion of the head of the female homosapien variety, it is truly comical.

The expression on the cat's face is truly priceless as well-- "Get me out of here! Let me down!"

The only sexualizing here truly depends on your point of view.

The body here is quite muscular, and the athletic build of the thighs gives the viewer a bit of a surprise for such a suggestive image.

The shifting of the body to one side is also an aggressive stance.

Cat-calling, "Here, kitty, kitty," just might get the living crap beat out of you by this female.

Great piece.

LeValley and crew recently launched their new website for LeJungle and all the artists they have exhibited.

Check out the new site fun at http://www.loveisoriginal.com/

To view the previous trilogy posts...

(I like to call this the 'Sequel')

(The original)

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