Western Exhibitions opened a pair of new shows last Friday, Eric Lebofsky‘s Superfreaks and Melissa Oresky‘s A Wilderness of Edges. The two are pretty separate and operate in very different ways, so I’m going to review these two separately, starting with Superfreaks and hitting the sister show next. To prove I’m serious:
A few months ago Eric Lebofsky began using the blogging service Tumblr as a host for a daily drawing / blogging project titled Superfreaks (link points to the blog). His characters, each rendered at a comfortable scale in ink and colored pencil, are heroic transformations of common satirized personalities like Introverted Extrovert Man. Here in Western Exhibitions second gallery space and separated (though barely) by frames rather than by posting dates, Lebofsky’s heroes hold themselves well, funny by way of observational comedy and clever by way of creepy absurdity.
Like any good joke, the work has its serious implications as well, and with Superfreaks we see work that both throws light on makes light of the natural tendency to view others entirely by way of their faults, especially neroses and personality flaws, or simply by their occupations and attached stigma. To see these characteristics manifest physically, with the nervous eyes of the Political Advisor or the retro constitution of Anachronism Man, gives the drawings a functional element which also allows the identities/personalities in those pieces without text to be questioned and understood by their deformities.
While there is content to take home, the volume and production method does make the work come off as an elevated kind of art made to entertain friends. Stumbling on the blog where these are posted, an unknown guest might even mistake it for a bizarre single panel web comic. Whether that all matters or not may or may not matter at all – they are entertaining drawings, choosing to revel in their conceptual content rather than critique it.
I give it a: