DAF favourite Travis Louie has a new show on at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles.
Inspiration for “Curious Pets” came after Travis came across a book about the “proper care of tarantuals” at a pet store. “It was pretty straightforward stuff about enclosures, temperature regulation, the types of tarantulas, etc, . . . and then I saw the author photo in the back of the book (and it was a dandy!) It wasn’t so much that the author looked like some stereotypical nerd, or that he was dressed like he was attending his senior prom and it was 1976 that caught my attention (powder blue tuxedo and greasy hair in full effect). It was the first prize ribbon attached to his tarantula’s tank that made me think, “they had pet shows for arachnids?” “How weird is that?” I’ve seen dog shows on television, like the Westminster Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden in New York every year, . . . but the image of some handler parading a tarantula on a leash and the subsequent examination of said tarantula on some platform by an elegantly dressed “expert” on the various breeds and tarantula groups made me laugh. I immediately started working on this series of paintings featuring characters with unusual pets and their unusual circumstances.”
Trained as a photographic re-toucher, Louie’s technique is one of “utter refinement and explicit detailing. Layers of beautifully and meticulously applied acrylic form the mystic, dreamy quality of the work. Influences from his childhood range from sci-fi magazines to odd reclusive neighbors in his hometown of New York, visually quoting films both old (1920’s) and as new as Pan’s Labyrinth. His obscure characters are always surrounded by an uncertain kind of electricity and uncertainty.”