Tin-aw Art Gallery presents Kurt Lluch’s first solo exhibition, Therianthrophy. The exhibition title plays on the interface between humans and animals and the attributes they share. Shape shifters embody this metamorphosis in mythology and folklore. The fascination with indeterminate beings of such nature had held sway over the popular imagination. The polarity between civilized and savage behavior might have sustained interest in this phenomenon, proven or otherwise. Brute strength, human frailty, survival are few of numerous leitmotifs that pervade human imagination of the affinities between humans and beasts. Popular imagery has even extended this fascination to figures of heroes and redeemers of civilization.
Artist Kurt Lluch however, looks to a more ancient source and examines with deep interest the nature of human failings. Citing Aesop’s fables as inspiration he renders on canvas mutating figures, shifting uneasily between states of being. They are shown alternately burdened and adorned with visual implements that connote rage, survival and greed. Kurt Lluch’s forms hover on canvas, shrouded by flicking tongues of flames, thorny vegetation, gnarled roots, froth and spittle, snarling fangs. Strain is felt here, an entrapment to behold. Before Lluch’s canvases, freedom is elusive possibility. His pieces are cautionary tales of inherent human weaknesses and the pitfalls that beset even the cleverest of human devices. Lluch’s paintings rouse the brute energies of these feral tendencies, those that determine who survives a cruel world.
The artist works with a method of veiling and disclosure, meticulously layering mediums over ground and rubbing or erasing them afterward to reveal forms. Canvases are primed with pastels over which graphite is laid. These layers are painstakingly erased to thresh narrative and figures, much like his referencing of ancient tales, closer to how allegories are deployed to strike at latent truths. Given to smearing and smudging, Kurt Lluch’s medium and technique connote the nebulous beings and inchoate gestures that mar humanity. His art highlights a keen awareness of the human condition and the precarious state we have placed it.
Works for Therianthrophy will be on view at Tin-aw Art Gallery until 31st December 2013.