Local artists subvert classic fairy tales in Bear and Bird's 3 of a Kind
By John Thomason
City Link Metromix
Somebody give Fred Phelps a call: There's some blaspheming going on in Lauderhill. Painting on a double-hinged mirror with an ornate gold frame, Fort Lauderdale artist Todd Nolan created "Ham for Holidays," a reinterpretation of the "Three Little Pigs" fairy tale as the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
We see wolves licking their lips as the piglet lies in its manger, and then prodding it with a stick as it suffers on the cross. Finally, the pig gets the last laugh, resurrecting itself with a yellow brick road ahead of it.
"When I was brainstorming ideas for this painting, I narrowed my choices of directions down to either the life of Christ or some random, fucked-up tale from the Book of Revelations," Nolan says. "In the midst of me thinking about it, my 2 1/ 2-year-old son, Jasper, began to yell that he wanted to watch his "Three Little Pigs" DVD. My brain merged the two thoughts into one and literally, within the blink of eye, every aspect of the painting fell into place, thanks to my little muse of an offspring."
The piece is one of about 50 in the group art show "3 of a Kind," on display at the Bear and Bird Gallery through Feb. 21. Gallery owner Amanda Magnetta-Ottati sought works from more than two dozen local and national artists connected around a theme of three-part art. The artists could choose their own style, size and arrangement.
"Some artists work well with a little direction," Magnetta-Ottati explains. "That's what makes it fun—to challenge them a little but not be dictating. Just give them a starting point. The goal is to be true to their own style while being cohesive to the whole."
Nolan was the only artist in the show who modeled his work after an ancient Christian triptych.
"Many years back, I went to Spain, where I visited a multitude of cathedrals and museums and saw many famous religious triptychs in person, like Hieronymus Bosch's 'The Garden of Earthly Delights,'" Nolan recalls. "So when Amanda approached me with the idea of doing a piece for this show, I knew immediately that I wanted to stick within the religious genre. Little did I know at the time that I would be the only artist to do so."
Nolan isn't the only artist in the show to subvert a fab le. Alessandro Echevarria, who recently moved to Brooklyn from Fort Lauderdale, contributed watercolors that trisect the faces of fairy tale heroes such as Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel and disembowel villains such as the Big Bad Wolf.
"I've always had this interest in stories, and how things work," he explains. "You're not expected to wonder how or why a wolf could swallow a child whole without chewing it or how that very child isn't asphyxiating in its stomach. These are the types of things I thought about as a kid.
"I just have lots of fun with deconstruction," he adds. "I've spent all of my life putting things together and taking them apart, both visually in my head and physically with my hands."
The show's other highlights similarly juxtapose childhood innocence with graphic or subversive underc urrents. Danielle Estefan's "Cock, Pussy and Weiner" finds naughty-looking girls mounting carousel rides of roosters, cats and dachshunds.
All the works in the show are for sale, many of them at affordable prices, helping to fulfill one of Magnetta-Ottati's goals of spurring art collecting.
3 of a Kind will be on view through Feb. 21. Bear and Bird Gallery is on the second floor of Tate's Comics, 4566 N. University Drive, in Lauderhill. Call 954-748-0181 or visit Bearandbird.com. Contact John Thomason at firstname.lastname@example.org.