Curated by Mike Rea & Geoffrey Todd Smith
Featuring Danielle Dobies, Ethan Gill, Matt Irie, Esau McGhee, Kara Mortensen, Jake Racina, Steve Ruiz
Laughter betrays us all. At an early age, we experience a moment where laughs are transformed from pure joy to a form of emotional terror when they are directed toward us. From that moment on, we fear being the butt of a joke. The simple, conflated ideas of joy and laughter are suddenly made much more complex, contributing to the development of our individual sense of humor. Consequently, the risk of humor turning on us fosters hardness, sensitivity, anger and disappointment. These complexities, when introduced into a work of art, can be very charged and volatile subjects.
Sustaining laughter in a static object or image can often prove elusive. The artist runs a risk of seeming flippant or delivering unmemorable one liners worthy of a bumper sticker. However, an artist’s willingness to express their own vulnerability with a sense of humor can be an evocative, poetic form of communication. The artists featured in Ugly Smile embed humor in an array of rigorously transformed materials adding to the complexity and depth of each work. Playfulness and cartoonishness become aggressive, the pathetic is exalted and sensitivity is given power.
Danielle Dobies danielledobies.com
Ethan Gill ethangillart.com
Matt Irie mattirie.com
Esau McGhee firstname.lastname@example.org
Kara Mortensen karamortensen.com
Chris Naka chrisnaka.com
Jake Racina jakeracina.tumblr.com
Steve Ruiz steveruizart.com