Postcards from a Twilight Zone

The Dark Ages
Anna Di Mezza-The Dark Ages 2017

Regulars readers will need no introduction to the wonderful Australian artist Anna Di Mezza, whose uncanny and compelling Surrealistic paintings of a retro parallel dimension have featured many times here (Double TakeQuestions & Answers with Anna Di MezzaEvolution and Transience). 2017 has been a busy and productive year for Anna and I am delighted to showcase her latest postcards from a none too distant Twilight Zone.

As well as experimenting with colour reversals of existing paintings (the subject of a future post), Anna has produced a fine batch of new paintings that expand upon recurring motifs and throw her obsessions into sharp relief. The mysterious crystal formation makes a reappearance in both The Dark Ages, where immaculately coiffed (does anyone do 60’s hairstyles as well as Ms Di Mezza?) ladies participate in an inexplicable séance around the transparent totem, and Eternal. The Messenger sees a return to a vibrant, day-glo Pop Art colour palette with a Futurist handling of motion that makes for a memorably bold image.

The remaining two paintings featured are the startling Blind Privilege and Convenience, with their vivid and visceral representation of cuts of meat. It is hard not to detect a sharp satirical edge in both paintings, especially in the juxtaposition of the witty title of Convenience with the image of the unwinnable (have you ever won? have you ever seen anyone win?) fun-house claw machine dangling over slabs of raw meat while the young girl looks on with an expression of bound to be disappointed anticipation.

Eternal-Anna Di Mezza
Eternal 2017
The Messenger
The Messenger 2017
Blind Privilege
Blind Privilege 2017
Convenience
Convenience 2017

Dreams of Desire 63 (Utamaro)

Lovers-in-the-upstairs-room-of-a-teahouse-from-Poem-of-the-Pillow-1788-by-Kitagawa-Utamaro[1]
Kitagawa Utamaro-Lovers in the Upstairs Room of a Teahouse 1788
The Meiji Restoration in 1868 opened Japan’s ports again to foreign trade after 200 years of international isolation. Soon Japanese art and artefacts found their way to Paris and London which resulted in a craze known as Japonisme. Ukiyo-e, particularly the works of the masters, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kitagawa Utamaro, would have a profound effect upon the first of all modern art movements, Impressionism.

Utamaro was renowned for his psychologically astute portraits of courtesans. Employing sophisticated compositional techniques of partial views, striking mannerism and subtle gradients of light and shade, Utamaro was collected by many luminaries of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, notably Degas, Gaugain and Toulouse-Lautrec. The serenity of his female studies were clearly a major influence on the ground-breaking female artist Mary Cassett.

Utamaro, like every ukiyo-e artist produced a large body of shunga. His sensitivity to female beauty combined with the intimacy and tenderness of many of the scenes portrayed rank among the finest examples of erotic art.

Stars of The Atrocity Exhibition: Ronald Reagan

ronald_reagan_headshot_rect1
Ronald Reagan
The motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan Reagan’s hairstyle. Studies were conducted on the marked fascination exercised by the Presidential contender’s hairstyle. 65 percent of male subjects made positive connections between the hairstyle and their own pubic hair. A series of optimum hairstyles were constructed.

J.G Ballard-Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan-The Atrocity Exhibition 1968

At the 1980 Republican Convention in San Francisco a copy of my Reagan text, minus its title and the running sideheads, and furnished with the seal of the Republican Party, was distributed to delegates. I’m told it was accepted for what it resembled, a psychological position paper on the candidate’s subliminal appeal, commissioned from some maverick think-tank.

Annotations-The Atrocity Exhibition 1990