February 17th, 2011
This didn’t work for me at first. The title gave away too much. The demon figure with the hellfire surrounding him & charring game corpses behind seemed to strike too loud, brassy & hortatory a chord. And the sexfluid/mucus/semen-oozy mattress and pantied ass initially felt gratuitous.
But I felt myself moved at some level and so stayed with it, as I try to do when my negative reaction to art comes too quickly upon first witness/listen. And before long I was hooked on it, found myself enjoying it thoroughly, enjoying its dark atmosphere and execution. The pointillistic technique helps enormously — if this were a piece by Robert Williams (whose name for some reason came to mind when I was letting this piece work its way into me), executed with clean & un-particularized contours and textures, I don’t think it would work so well. But the fuzziness & stippling help offset some of the more dramatic and blunt thematic elements.
The color works it’s way into me as well. Those purples, lavenders, the bedsheets’ roses, the maroon on the wallpaper — the consistent saturation of redpurples gives the piece a unity that locks you in, and meanwhile your brain’s developing a narrative out of the characters, setting, lighting, mood. I think the technique is strong too — that perfect curve of ass; the monster-from-the-deep-lagoon daemon’s face rendered with a terrific mix of supercilious regard, alien intelligence, awful power & cretin-goofy unnnngh; the shadowplay on his resting body, the hot & kinetic lick of flame offsetting his static comfort.
Ultimately the piece is powerful & compelling in a way I can only hint at through enumeration: the bargain being made, promise being broken, the metaphorical layers of it, the totally unmetaphorical evil reality of it, the charred-flesh smoke in the air, the claustrophobic wallpaper damask, the spinning corpses on spits, the sopping mattress, the heat, sweat, the fear, disgust, sheet-rustle, ruination, surrender.
Check out joka444.com for more of JoKa’s art.
All writing © copyright C. Way / Snailcrow.com 2011