On the occasion of Berlin Art Week 2019, we are pleased to present new work by Aaron Rose, as well as drawings by Natalie Krim presented by The Conversation.
Aaron Rose’s new work, consisting of paintings and sculptural assemblage, continue to explore themes of identity, group dynamics and mysticism. Employing his signature graphic symbolist style, the works on canvas employ a bold color palette and include compositional elements both rendered by the artist and referenced from popular culture. Returning to theme of the human face, Rose asks us to re-interpret our ideas of ourselves, creating fictitious identities built from the juxtaposition of iconography.
Additionally, Rose has added a photographic element to the works, playing with the idea of photomontage as an under-print, adding a new narrative dimension to the paintings that references Rose’s work as a filmmaker and photographer. Aesthetically, the paintings play with the artist’s idea of Post-Taste. Meaning that one goes against his/her artistic instincts of beauty. Part experiment and part folly, Rose is asking both himself and the viewer to reassess traditional ideas of beauty, searching instead for places where the disgusting can actually approach sublime.
Aaron Rose has a long history of using the object as a canvas. The three-dimensional surface and it’s many facets holding a unique fascination for him. These new sculptures continue that tradition, this time taking on human forms. Playing again with the idea of Post-Taste, the artist has created a series of characters that ask us to re-define ideas of beauty. Using structural elements of common furniture and household goods to represent the body in ways that are both highly comedic and fraught with psychological depth.
When one first glances the works of artist Natalie Krim, one cannot help feel a bit embarrassed. At face value, these small intimate drawings and collages are soft and sweet, but there’s something incredibly private going on as well. As we take in these artworks, we feel as though we’re being let into someone’s secret world, a place where forbidden desires are allowed to run wild, yet packaged in the sweetness of a teenage girl’s fantasy. Some could say this is nothing new, and that in our social-media-driven visual world images described as these permeate every corner of our culture, but Natalie Krim’s images are different. The works trick you into believing that they’re about sex, but if one looks closer it becomes quite obvious that their surface sexuality is only a means of the artist leading us to distraction. A complicated visual play is happening here with the function to lure the small-minded viewer into a much larger artistic statement.
Natalie Krim’s works are in fact deeply psychological and one could even say political. In concept, one could compare them to works by like Cindy Sherman’s intimate auto-portraits or even Dorothy Ianonne’s wild psychedelic drawings. Like Krim, both artists used sexuality as an entrance point, but then once inside, boldly revealed to us the inner workings of their collective souls. With Natalie Krim, sex becomes a metaphor, but in reality these works reveal the silent screams of a young woman coming to terms with herself and her relationship to the world. Perhaps that’s where the sense of embarrassment comes from.
Our superficial image based culture has come to define intimacy as something that in reality is not intimate at all. What Krim is exposing to us is well beyond the body and thus sometimes perhaps the most uncomfortable thing to consider. We don’t want to look at other peoples’ sorrow, mostly because it forces us to look at the same things in ourselves. It messes with our fantasy that we are good, the farce that we are all OK. It is precisely this combination of elements that makes Natalie Krim’s works so powerful. While these small, understated works can easily be confused with naïve diary scribbles, we all must consider that perhaps it’s in these unsettling images, in their unsuspecting forms, that our internal world is mirrored back at us in the most exquisite way.