Louie's works are painstakingly created by applying acrylic paint in transparent layers like watercolors over meticulously subtle graphite. Wonderful.
TRAVIS LOUIE – STRANGE DISCOVERIES
Exhibition Dates: November 9th - December 7th, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday November 9th, 8-11pm/ RSVP Essential to RSVP@mkgallery.com
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Avenue (in the ART 170 Building)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present Strange Discoveries by Travis
Louie. Louie’s paintings disarm our disbelief and offer us an alternate reality
so comprehensive it renders the seams between the world we inhabit and
the world of Louie’s creation practically invisible.
This exhibition’s inspiration originates in Louie’s fascination with the
late Victorian and Edwardian age: a second industrial revolution was in full
swing, the age of steam powered transport had begun and new scientific
advancements were being made almost daily. The fledgling art of photography was increasingly
becoming the means of documenting any new discoveries. As Louie explains, the relationship between
these early photographs and established ‘reality’ was often tentative at best: “Photographs were new
enough that people thought of them as verifiable proof even though they could be altered by crude
means during the developing process. I think of ‘spirit photography’ and the wonderful hoax put on by Elsie
Wright and Frances Griffith in 1917 where they claimed to have taken actual photographs of fairies.”
Charles Baggage had created the forerunner of the computer, the first transatlantic cables had been laid
and Darwin had published his controversial Origin of the Species and yet, concurrently the popularity of
séances, cryptozoology and all sorts of mysticism exploded. For Louie this curious blend of rationality and
almost naïve willingness to believe makes for very fertile artistic ground.
Louie tinkers with the fabric of reality and creates alternate histories and wonderfully personal
narratives for his works. Where we might expect civil war veterans or the grim countenances of our
ancestors, we have horned demons posing for formal portraits in rigid collars and coats. A South American
primate takes a break from his career on the West End stage for a publicity photo-shoot; a pretty woman
wears a helmet designed to protect her from harmful thoughts, figure based scenes that test the limits of
belief reign supreme. Yet Louie’s careful technique lends even his most fantastical images an air of
authenticity. By painstakingly applying acrylic paint in transparent layers like watercolors, over meticulously
subtle graphite, the artist masterfully recreates the gelatin-silver feel of early daguerreotype photographs.
Louie’s greatest triumph however is not technical – it is having created a world so engaging and
vivid that we would rather believe in it than question its veracity. We are left with the impression that if we
dig deep enough into that bin of discarded photographs at the flea market we just might chance upon
the kind of charming oddities featured in Louie’s paintings.
Travis Louie was born in Queens, New York. His formative years were spent watching ‘Atomic Age’
sci-fi movies and sketching genre characters like Godzilla, King Kong, and a host of creatures from Ray
Harryhausen movies. He graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and has been exhibited across the
continental United States and in select exhibitions in Germany, France, and Canada.
For More Information, please contact Merry Karnowsky at email@example.com
Press Contact: Jessica O’Dowd firstname.lastname@example.org
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