NOSEGO


Nosego, “Young Shortcut”


July 18 - August 8, 2015 at Thinkspace Gallery, Culver City

by Suvan Geer

 

 

Street artist Yis Goodwin, aka Nosego, makes visual mashups — zany, colorful, sometimes disturbing, often beautiful. Like web pages that pull content from various places, and contemporary music that fractures and re-mixes other songs, his vivid and lively paintings of unreal creatures slam together fragments of all sorts of things into new, vaguely familiar, but decidedly original images.

 

 

 

 

Nosego, “Young Shortcut,” 2015, acrylic on wood panel, 12 x 12”.

 

 

On the street, Nosego’s wall spanning graffiti-based murals typically drop huge fanciful beasties full of bold colors and rampant motion onto the bland architecture of urban scenes. There they visually snap and writhe like bursts of unfettered imagination. In his paintings the Philadelphia artist’s beasts tend to be more constrained but no less fantastic. Displaying a love of disjointed construction and fragmented juxtaposition rather than unification, each supercharged critter has in the past suggested a strange but living entity cobbled together by an alien fiddling with DNA and raw matter pilfered on a quick trip to earth. Just string together the head of some wild animal, a crop of crystals, a slop of liquid ocean sporting a living fish, add a few trees, a wind sock tail and a cosmic-ignited gut and voila! — you have the dynamic, mysterious summation of a living planet. Albeit a disjointed world, and one hopped up on every visualizing tool for imagination from Fantasia to old master paintings, hallucinogenic drugs and genetic manipulation. Wild and colorful, they were as improbable as they were fun to look at.

 

The creatures in the paintings for this show, "Along Infinite River" (a playfully compressed title that can be also read as 'A Long Infinite River'), are more thoughtful. “That Place” is a lush acrylic on wood panel painting that presents us with the large round head of an orange, rose tattooed, rabbit-eared entity. It’s a surprising figure of disparate, un-joined parts. The head sports a crystal-cluster crown and a small omega insignia but has a range of mountains and a cascading waterfall for its shoulders and a deep pool for its torso. Two big lavender gloved hands rise from the pool, pensively fingering the creature’s chin. It has no eyes, just a gaping maw filled with a lush landscape, a full moon and another rushing waterfall that drools a stream into the body’s larger waters. A provocative representation of an internal landscape it renders the figure as either a contemplative monk at one with its world, or a cartoonish idiot lost in a landscape of trackless thought. Probably both.

 

If Nosego’s previous works have spun with a crazy dynamic motion, these new surreal creatures have calmed down some and are less disjunctive. “Young Shortcut” is a polka dotted, rubber ducky of an orb whose vast, wide-open mouth contains a fiord. Charming but puzzling its transparent skin radiates an internal calligraphy we can’t decipher. It floats in a tiny puddle, wearing a small tilted halo, silently gaping its internal waterway while a purple rain of circles falls around it.

 

In this inner world of self-awareness the artist’s fantastic creatures feel placated. Still wildly improbable and mashing up various elements that are animal, vegetable, mineral and cosmic their energy is less frenetic and more transformational. Wolf heads flower into holy, salivating bouquets; massive frogs blindly crystal gaze while releasing a host of smaller blind frogs; a mysterious, robotic cat’s head drops golden waters from its mouth into forests blessed by star-filled hands. It’s all very dreamy with its own benign, nonsensical logic.