For our second show, Jeffrey Stark is excited to present "PussyCatShrimp,” the central painting of a triptych by Sven Loven bearing the same title. "PussyCatShrimp" is a work encompassing three separate images: a mantis shrimp, an ASCII image of a cat breaking through a pane of glass, and an aestheticized rendering of a chant by rapper Kevin Jz Prodigy. For this showing, only the central painting will be on view in the gallery, with the accompanying pieces on view in Loven's studio.
The mantis shrimp is an appealing subject because it can be thought of as an embodiment of the sense of sight. A harlequin of the animal kingdom, its body is a bizarre amalgam of form united by a riot of incandescent colors. Beyond its alien appearance, the beady eyes it possesses give it an absurdly comical anthropomorphic presence, like a plastic doll squeezed tight enough to make its eyeballs pop out. One wonders why an animal with such unique attributes developed so ludicrous a demeanor. As an allegorical symbol of aesthetics, however, its form may be quite apt a vessel to illustrate the connections between the world of appearance, the empowering nature of sight and the force of movement, extrapolated into sound, gesture and light. As both the most receptive viewer on the planet, and one of more unique discoursers of gesture, its capabilities reflect how the interplay of aesthetics and natural power facilitate creativity.
In the complete triptych, the aesthetics of appearance engage and clash with the capacity of communication. Each panel utilizes a specific element of the allegory as a whole -- in the painting of the mantis Shrimp, the beauty and power of the natural world is understood through the lens of human experience. With the ASCII image, the font of a written language is used to create a metaphorical cartoon of mischievous rebellion. In the third painting, the language of metaphoric femininity used in Kevin Jz Prodigy's chant is aestheticized to the point of near abstraction, mark-making becoming a vessel teetering between expression and illegibility.
Thus animal power in the mantis shrimp becomes a symbol of the destructive nature of communication and the possibility of meaning in appearance. Metaphoric symbolism in the cat describes the conflict between creativity and the limitations of the senses. The words of a chant recruit the world of appearance as vehicle for strength. Antagonism, inherent in the way we interpret art and reality, is illustrated in the conflict between the idealized world of aesthetics and the power inherent in nature.