Saturday, June 14, 2014

Erik Volet’s exhibit: SCENE FROM THE YIDDISH THEATRE & OTHER PAINTINGS by Sheila R. Alonzo

“Theatre, became the binding principle happening through all of the paintings.  I decided to treat the show like a story by giving each painting a title of a short story.” -Erik Volet

On June 1st, 2014 the MoCL gallery was packed for the opening of Erik Volet’s recent exhibit: SCENE FROM THE YIDDISH THEATRE & OTHER PAINTINGS. 
The paintings were huge in relation to space, giving the illusion of being inside a giant book of plays, in monochrome. 

It was hard to maneuver and see the paintings without being distracted.  I sipped my wine patiently peeking at pieces of the paintings in between shifting bodies.  Eventually, I turned to find myself nose to nose with Viridiana, the nun at the BEGGARS’ BANQUET.  This scene was taken from a Luis Buñuel 1961 film, Volet told me at an interview later.  My scene of first encounter with this painting was as surreal and poetic as spanish movie director Buñuel made his films to be. 

Going back almost a century before Viridiana, a French writer was born.  Alfred Jarry was his name, known for being one of the common precursors of Theatre of the Absurd who inspired many, including Volet.  “I painted him green for the absinth he drunk,” said Volet with a secret smile.  When asked why he chose the title for his show, he said, “theatre, became the binding principle happening through all of the paintings. I decided to treat the show like a story by giving each painting a title of a short story”.

Volet’s small studio space revealed a handful of sketchbooks displayed on a wide table.  On the wall beside it, hung drawings of characters Volet is currently working on.  “As a kid,” Volet said, “I enjoyed drawing people, especially cartoon characters”. 

Pinned against a wall, I glanced at Efren Quiroz who waved at me to step outside.  Cool air felt good on my skin.  We found artist / writer, Debora Alanna, leaned against her car reading the show’s beautiful catalogue ($10 for sale at the gallery).  Bits and pieces of conversation escaped through the glass windows of the gallery as the sun set on Fort Street.

Moments later a group descended including Volet.  Smokers lit.  Bicycles piled.  Artist Cameron Kidd arrived carrying a case of beer.  Walking beside him was film director, Zsofin Sheehy of “100 Layers of Beige” [Wandering Eye Media].  As I was about to leave, I caught sight of artist / publisher [White Hot Magazine] Noah Becker, disappear around the bend of Blanshard Street.  Everyone in general, looked happy. 
”Very much fan of Erik’s work.  I feel that his paintings evoke an etheric sense of QUIETUDE whilst the characters portrayed burst through with a wellspring of human emotion.” - Toni Bennett

“His best show yet.” - Noah Becker

“I like the monochromatic paintings; the scenes on them look more powerful.” - Efren Quiroz

“I felt a sense of family and community both in his art and from the folks who attended...very welcoming...” - Joanie McCory

"100 Layers of Beige"
"White Hot Magazine"


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