Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lizard Art

Lizard Art

“How singularly
innocent I look
this morning.”
—Waldo Lydecker

Lizard art: Dig it or run for your life. These new large scale paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Alphonse Dick explore the margins between lizard and myth. Dick’s work is a synthesis of human and snake libido.

These creatures & their captives are true to life in size and shape—unbelievable, impossible to comprehend as human. The poor mortal model’s faces obviously mirror their unease, yet butchy gentility and cultivation prevails. Alphonse Dick leaves visible the seams in his snake nightmares, reminding the viewer that the reptilian and human is coexisting in these striking portraits.

Alphonse Dick asks us to embrace contradiction and question man's uncertain relationship with his latent underlying lizard violence—so shamelessly unsheathed just beneath the guise of Dick’s control.

As Waldo Lydecker the famous art critic notes in his NYTimes review, “Becoming Snake: Evolution and Human Uniqueness,” our human features sometimes get distorted and metamorphosed into their own demonic doubles—unnatural, pealed-back, foreskin-esque. Our serpent heritage has allowed for an enormous range of subversively misunderstood erotic expressions.

The ability to provoke outrage, fear, shame, sympathy and even worse emotions—has helped humankind to create an uncivilized culture based on cold-blooded reptilian mistrust in others through these universally misunderstood lizardy expressions.

Perhaps Alphonse Dick’s creatures are evidence of our twisted human condition—striving to disprove a troubling disenchanting déjà vu existence we sometimes experience in our human past. Yet undoubtedly these same wild animalesque feelings may indeed feel the same way about us.

These painting’s unsympathetic lizard faces and the human ones tinged with sexual lust, boredom and disgust question what it is to be human or beast.

Organized by the Claire Crumb Gallery, New York City, with the generous assistance of the artist for the BP Museum of Art.

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