Artist's imagery is Dionysian and fantastic, recalling the power of story telling from a stew of sources: mythology, Rodin, religion, allegory, folklore, the glitter and grit of the Las Vegas strip, Martin Buber, William Blake, Robert Gober, Gore Vidal's novel, Myra Breckenridge, and 19th century Austrian Decadent movement artist, Franz Von Bayros.
Western Project is proud to present the Los Angeles debut exhibition by Aaron Sheppard. An MFA graduate from UNLV in 2009, Sheppard's conceptually elaborate works dredge Eros from the ether; monuments of erotic iconography, they are untamed and obsessive. His imagery is Dionysian and fantastic, recalling the power of story telling from a stew of sources: mythology, Rodin, religion, allegory, folklore, the glitter and grit of the Las Vegas strip, Martin Buber, William Blake, Robert Gober, Gore Vidal's novel, Myra Breckenridge, and 19th century Austrian Decadent movement artist, Franz Von Bayros. Titled, Yonic Inversion, the artist addresses ideas of desire and cultural norms to illuminate the unexpected; the taboo and the sacred are turned upside down or inside out; definitions of gender and societal roles are veiled - as Myra Breckenridge pronounced: "Nothing is what it seems and what nothing seems is false".
Sheppard's series of square Malebox sculptures uses the glory hole as an inverted Yoni, a Hindu symbol of the female sexual organ and origin of life. It is a waist high performative sculpture alluding to the minimalist language of Donald Judd, in a burlesque Home Depot attitude using neon and drywall.
Aaron SheppardThe large cast aluminum sculpture Phal-Femis an inverted image from a Franz Von Bayros etching; confusing and reordering the gender and content of the original portrait into an alluring and hybrid construct. His painting, A Symmetry references William Blake's dark and swirling watercolors, huge in scale, and adorned with six foot wooden tusks; his female sea goddess rises from the water, a naked warrior of this plane or a horned siren of the nether world?
Shakti SME is an ode to a deceased friend and muse of the artist; a work blurring the boundaries between the divine and profane; neon tubes pour milk white light from breast-like udders, similar to the famed Artemis fountain at the Villa d Este, and simultaneously a side show spectacle. These works are not summations, but questions; glimpses of a larger whole. Sheppard collages concepts and materials to redefine the erotic, the sublime, the historic and the spiritual.
A co-conspirator in this realm, musician/songwriter Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons) writes: "Dancing with his casket, Christ becomes a wife", acknowledging the transformation of perception and identity possible - one thing becomes another and another becomes something else; more, one thing illuminates another, the fixed is the illusion.
Sheppard has exhibited at the Fringe Festival in Australia, and in galleries in New York, Tokyo, Beijing, London, Las Vegas and Washington DC.
Reception for the artist : Saturday, October 30th, 5-8pm
(Also open November 6th until 8:00 PM)
2762 S. La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 11:00 - 5:00 PM