Upon entering R. Pela Contemporary Art in March one might get a sense of what it was like to walk into an exhibition in Europe or New York in the early 20th century and find work by Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, or Man Ray. In Everything After both artists recall the highbrow/lowbrow aspects of Dada, Surrealism, even Pop and refresh them with their unique blend of whimsy and social critique.
Schnackel defines her body of work as “Humorous Surrealism” in which she allows real life to seep into her creations and develops what entertains her. She wants the viewer to know that there is nothing to “get” and it should be enjoyed for its absurdity. The work on display at Pela is poignant in that it breaks away from the idea of a statement and allows some fun to come into play. For the show she created a whole series of mashups, classic art prints she found at thrift stores embedded with her quirky creatures. The works are reminiscent of Duchamp’s “L.O.O.H.Q,” in which he penciled a mustache on a print of the Mona Lisa. But, Schnackel goes further, she seamlessly inserts her otherworldy beings into the masterpieces and if you didn’t know better you would think they were there all along.
Aubel’s hyper-realistic, technicolor portraits of iconic figures are a blast to the senses. He creates
visual disbelief with his skillful mix of style and technique, to him nothing is off limits, and his sense of humor is spot on. His “in your face art” is jarring yes, but so pleasantly that one cannot help but chuckle even when a poor Twinkie man is crucified. In addition to mashup paintings like “Audrey Hepburn Marge Simpson” Aubel also presents a number of “Love Grenades”, three dimensional, colorful hand grenades that reflect the duality of good and evil.
The combination of the artists is masterful because they each re-imagine the original ideals of Dada and Surrealism and present them in a contemporary voice that makes sense. They play with the ideas of absurdity, iconography, and do not hesitate to challenge the traditional notions of what art is, or is not.
Images courtesy of Pela Contemporary; copyright of the artist