Common Whimsey’s ‧ Still life

Axis Contemporary Art Gallery

September 2010

MSN Encarta – the online dictionary, says this:

whim·sy [ wímzee, hwímzee ] (plural whim·sies) or whim·sey [ wímzee, hwímzee ] (plural whim·seys)
noun

Definition:

1. endearing quaintness or oddity: the quality of being slightly odd or playfully humorous, especially in an endearing way

2. impulsive notion: an idea that has no immediately obvious reason to exist

[Early 17th century. Probably based on whim-wham, perhaps after words like dropsy]

The idea of objects created with either of the intentions noted by those definitions from MSN Encarta is delightful and charming. The realist paintings in this exhibit are meant to ask questions about why we make what we make and buy what we buy, have what we have – but they are mostly about celebrating the light heart of whimsy and its constant and often bewildering presence in our lives.

Our stuff can have much longer lives than we do. Do we see our stuff as it is or is it always about the context or memory the stuff is associated with?

The paintings Her Panda’s, Dutch Boy and Lovebirds are not new works, they are the works that inspired the ongoing thought and production of all the other works in the show. They were objects collected by my mother and they perplexed me. They were also the beginning of my last exhibit – Marg’s Museum.

At first I was kind of appalled by them, they are so kitschy –

again – msn Encarta says

kitsch [ kich ]

noun

Definition:

1. artistic vulgarity: sentimentality, tastelessness, or ostentation in any of the arts

2. vulgar objects: collectively, decorative items that are regarded as tasteless, sentimental, or ostentatious in style

[Early 20th century. < German< kitschen “throw together”]

For my whole career as a painter and as a teacher I have been repelled by sentimentality in art. But as I have searched for and painted these things, I have been won over by the sheer whimsey of them. They are playful. So I relaxed and decided to make this exhibit a celebration of a lighter, playful side of life – and I hope the viewer joins me in that pleasure.

Lori Lukasewich 2010

Many thanks to Rob Mabee.