Walsh Gallery

Von Kommanivanh: Crooked Characters


Dates: Jul 22 2005 - Sep 3 2005

Opening Reception: Jul 22 2005

Chicago, Illinois;

"Crooked Characters" is an exhibit of new paintings by Von Kommanivanh. Chicago-based artist Von Kommanivanh, a former graffiti artist and tattooist, left these art-making practices because he found them too perfectionistic. Mr. Kommanivanh wanted more artistic freedom, and so he turned to painting.

"Crooked Characters" opens at Walsh Gallery on Friday July 22nd from 5 to 9pm. The exhibit continues until September 3rd. The artist will be present at the opening reception.

There are few painters today that are able to create an uncensored recollection of growing up in an urban street environment as successfully as Von Kommanivanh. Mr. Kommanivanh,s latest paintings effortlessly integrate text, figurative narrative, and action painting. In these new explorations, Mr. Kommanivanh delves into the lusciousness of paint. Texture, mark, and drips carry equal weight with words and a deeply personal reflection of life growing up on the streets of Chicago. Although some artists would be content to have just achieved lush color fields that permeate a textural realm, this is merely the departure point for Mr. Kommanivanh.

The painting "Crooked Characters" (that the show is named after) has multiple layers of meaning. As Mr. Kommanivanh said, "I made this painting from a memory of a summer growing up. Me and my friends sat on the steps because it was hot and we had nothing to do." The three central figures are also a direct reference to a photograph by Ralph Eugene Meatyard in which 3 children with masks sit on steps with the numbers 1-4 on each stair. In Von Kommanivanh,s painting, these figures are surrounded by an eclectic mix of feet, a yellow chair, text like "moving", "butter", and "40 killers", a cat and other simplified sketches of images from daily life.

Since Mr. Kommanivanh is heavily inspired by music in his paintings, a soundtrack of music the artist paints to will be audible during the exhibit. The artist believes in making art accessible and affordable, and temporary tattoos based on the artists, paintings will be available for sale at the reception. The tattoos will be priced based on what people can afford to pay.