Making art isn't supposed to be a risky business, but British artist Chris Pig says that on several occasions, his sketches have led to ugly confrontations.
Sitting in cafes in London or Spain, Pig generally works on three sketches at a time, turning his attention from one subject to the next when someone senses his gaze is lingering too long.
At times, his subjects have grown wary of his lingering appraisals and confronted him, suspecting something perverse and sexual in his intense concentration. Those people Pig chooses as his subjects may have good reason to feel uneasy, though not for the reasons they might suspect.
Pig has a gimlet-eyed, jaded knack for capturing the peculiar vanities and brutalities of the human animal.
The people eventually transposed from these sketches into linocuts are caught between the crosshairs of Pig's scathing, often misanthropic read on human specimens, such as the bald and pendulously gutted man sitting in a Spanish bar in "Name Your Price." Pig's prints are packed with information, from his elaborately detailed textures of woodwork, skin and other surfaces, to the telling gesture or physical feature that sets his psychological stage. In "Name Your Price," he conveys the man's aura of peacock macho vanity with his shirt provocatively unbuttoned and his Vienna sausage fingers laced with numerous gold rings gripping a ludicrously dainty wine glass.
A resident of Cordova, Spain, for the past four years, Pig's previous haunt was the London borough of Hackney's Murder Mile, where he watched assorted thug wars from his terrace above the street. Two of the most striking and memorable works in his show Jealousy, at Vinson Gallery, are portraits of career rabble-rousers. "Made in England" features a tattooed, shaved brute resting a baseball bat on his overinflated biceps. "Vigilante" features another street fighter with an oft-broken nose and a well-seasoned machete at the ready. Pig's best work is psychological and dark, with shades of Lucian Freud and the 18th-century satirist of human malfeasance William Hogarth. Pig's less appealing work fugues on art history convention: still life prints of artichokes, zaftig female nudes and two lovers locked in a stylized embrace.
The work is undeniably best when the slightly antiquated, ornate style of Pig's prints rubs up against his astute and humorous observations.
Chris Pig: Jealousy through Oct. 8. Vinson Gallery, 119 E. Court Square, Decatur. Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and by appointment. 404-370-1720. www.vinsongallery.com.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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