Friday, July 29, 2011

Immaculate Deception

Yet another great opening for those of you in the Santa Monica area tonight. Immaculate Deception, exhibited at the Copro Gallery, spotlights the work of two female artists, Genevive Zacconi and Ewelina Koszykowski. The opening starts tonight, July 29th, at 8pm PST. Both women will be in attendance, having made the long trek from NYC.

Genevive, is a Philadelphia native, born in 1981. Her oil paintings have been included in Juxtapoz and Hi-Frutose Magazine, amongst many others. She knows the pop-surrealism genre intimately, as she is not only an artist, but also a curator. She was a founding Director of Trinity Gallery in Philadelphia, and currently serves as the Director of Last Rites Gallery, NYC.

'Fade Out' by Genevive Zacconi

Ewelina Koszykowski, also born in 1981, immigrated to the United States from Poland at the age of three. She has since honed her skills as an oil painter, having graduated from CCAD in Columbus, Ohio.

'The Humiliation of the Virgin of Naivety and the Prayer for Divinity', by Ewelina

Be sure to check out more work from these two incredibly talented women at their personal sites:


  1. I'll be honest... The work is technically beautiful. Very beautiful. But I find the subject matter tiresome.

    The Barbie doll symbolism has been played out since the 80's. I can't tell you how many dismembered Barbies I've seen painted and nailed to walls in gallery shows both "professional" and student.

    Plus, the thinly veil reference to Christianity being somehow oppressive, or deceptive towards women is even more tired.

    Images like these are supposed to be edgy, and challenging, but really... they are anything but that. They are cliched, and safe.

    If someone wants to make a visual statement on religion's oppression or distortion of women, let's see what can be done with Islam. What can be more current an issue than that?

    Or are women's rights, burqas, and female castration not enough fuel for that feminist fire? ...Or is fear from retribution the issue?

    I am not trying to be offensive, but I am merely raising the issue. Let's really push the envelope if that is indeed the goal. Let's really see images that stir the modern mindset, if that's what you want.

    These images are well done, but a bit boring. Seen it. Been there. Done that. Time to move on.

  2. Well, if they wanted to offend, they succeeded with me. You feel sad for these artists, wanting to display people like this, regardless of the concept. There is so much good to say, so much of the ideal that so desperately needs to be highlighted and encouraged in our teetering society.

    I wish them well in the good they do in their careers. Interesting blog choice, Dan.

  3. Ahhhh... that is the beauty of art, a piece may be interpeted so many different ways. I see “Fade Out” as a visual autobiography (the subject is clearly a self portrait), depicting emotion (personal??) sacrifices made for art.

    The painting with the snake brings to mind the quote from Shakesphere, “fear me you but warm the starvèd snake, Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts” and eludes to betrayal.
    The painting with the hands with the DNA rosary beads seem to represent family struggles and remaining faithful.

    In all, this current body of work does not seem, to me, focused on female oppression or religion, but rather a visual expression of sacrifice and betrayal.

    And yes, Barbie and My Little Ponies have been painted many times before, as have hands, arms, nudes, landscapes, etc. I think that both of the artist have deeper meaning to their work, and neither were painting “eye candy”.

  4. All valid points, guys.

    However, it's important to keep in mind that both artists are working with a theme, that being 'Immaculate Deception'. Here, in their own words, are their feelings about the concept:

    "Working within the context of the exhibition title, Immaculate Deception, I've taken both themes of betrayal, and aspects within theology and integrated them into my own art. Believing that religion is a product of human imagination, I feel as though this complex explanation for existence is representative of the psyche of the greater whole of humanity, aside from religious sect; the motifs within the imagery & parable being inherent aspects of all of human life. I've therefore tried to take the topics that have stood out to me, through my Catholic upbringing, and apply them to broader issues in modern times. Human suffering, martyrdom, self-imposed victimization, and sacrifice being some of the subjects that have particularly caught my attention and which I see as having risen to the surface of my work within this show."

    "For many months now the portals of my canvas have been channeling the incantations of an ancient fairy tale which lives ever present in the hearts of modern man. Step inside the canvas and be welcomed to the world of Immaculate Deception…

    The rulers of our realm press upon its inhabitants a decree for factory line productivity. We the people are driven by an insatiable need to create the shiny and new. Thus we are becoming a fast news nation, a fast food nation, a fast sex nation and in the process are starving ourselves of that mystical quality that makes us human; not dispensable animated bodies - part plastic, part clay.
    As we the human race travel on this journey of truth and deception there is only one champion who will duel for our freedom. She beats inside us all; she is the path of heart."


    As for me...
    I too agree that the Barbies are a bit trite and over done in the genre. However, it's possible I'm just not seeing their significance. I'm sure that the image of a Barbie doll holds much greater meaning, and thusly visual impact, for a woman who as a girl was raised to idealize it.

    Having painted gallery work myself for a while, I can also empathize with the limitations that the field imposes on artists. You quickly end up type-casting yourself, and painting repetitive themes because that is what the market wants. They expect to see a certain thing from you. Further more, when there is no guarantee of a sale (unlike illustration which is negotiated before hand), you tend to pander to the audience. If the audience keeps buying Barbies, you keep painting Barbies. After all, there is not just the fear of not selling a piece, but the very real possibility of actually LOSING money, since the artists have to pay for framing and shipping themselves.

    It's very easy to criticize fine artists for what one person would consider a lack of artistic integrity or expression. But the reality is quite different. Like Illustrators, fine artists do not always get to paint whatever they want.

    Because of this, I tend to view the works a bit differently. Ewelina has obviously chosen plastic toys as her subject matter for whatever reason. That is her working parameter. The real question is, how well has she told a story -within- that parameter? Personally, I think quite well!

    It really boils down to this,
    Both artists are dealign with themes that personally don't appeal to me (and I'm sure that superheroes, chainmail bikinis and dragons don't appeal to them), but they are so technically proficient, that I can look past it. I can still look at the work that goes into a piece, and ENJOY it. I can still get my nose right up into, and LEARN from it. And like someone else's religion whose message and symbolism I may not ascribe to, I can still RESPECT it.

  5. Anyways,
    I'm happy that the work is instilling a response, one way or another. Nothing is worse than boring work!

    Please continue to express your opinions, and keep the dialog going.
    Just remember to keep doing as you're doing.
    That is, offering criticism in an insightful manner, and not an insulting one.

  6. I think Barbie dolls, Mickey mouse, My Pretty Pony, etc. are all conventions of the pop surrealist movement. Just like Advertising images were a convention of Pop art, and, Just like with pop art, people tend to get tired of it. I think its because the subject matter, pop culture, is meant to be consumed, then thrown away.

    What I think is cool though, is that this pop surrealist movement is a way for artist to express what they feel using images of things that held some meaning for them when they were young. This is no different from artist expressing themselves using images of greek gods or religious stories. Those were the raw materials that they had to work with. Today we have plastic.

    I think the work of some of these artist is really beautiful, and some is crap, but thats the way it always is. I personally dont really like pop art because it tends to be kind of pretentious, but some of these artist are really skilled, and I have found that I have become more open to it because of that.

  7. This kind of work sparks interesting debate in classes. Do we choose symbols for obscurity or recognition? If we use objects which are cliched and used "too often" aren't we using things most recognized and most relatable? I often find the attempt at veering away from overused symbols is attempt made for the sake of attempting. As a teacher I often hear faculty say steer away from cliches and yet cliches are cliches because we recognize them and are more able to recognize what they communicate. Maybe it's not the objects themselves but the way they are portrayed or executed.

    Anyway bring in work like this Dan is great for discussion and I applaud you for it.

  8. Well said Dan. Ive just discovered this excellent blog and am catching up as fast as i can. Really loving the knowledge, expertise and the amazing artists offered here!



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