French “Oath Of Armageddon” @ Backwoods Gallery

Backwoods Gallery opened 2012 with a show by LA artist French on Friday night, a show full of evil, anarchy, demons and all the other good things in life, did I say that right? Even if you aren’t a fan of the subject matter on display, you can’t help but be in awe of the artists work and think how amazing it is to think of what someone can make with just a pencil and paper.

This was a little nostalgic for me, as one of the first art exhibitions I ever went to was his show at the old Schwipe Don’t Come Gallery/Store back in 2008, probably one of my first real introductions to art, at a time where I probably didn’t give a shit about it and I’ve gotta say, from then ’til now, French hasn’t dropped the ball at all. Technically speaking his work is super fine and all organically from the hand, there are no perfectly straight lines here and I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing, I’m saying it more as a naturally artistic compliment. Stylistically, the work is closer to that of Iron Maiden album covers with a colour taken out. Every piece on display is completely in black and white, apart from a couple with some a touch of blood-red for added evil, the minimalistic style looks great with these works, deep black shadows cover the images leaving you to think that they live in the darkness of the night.

Walking into the show on opening night, viewers were faced with a smoking outhouse, with a few dark trimmings, goat skulls are placed around 3 of the 4 sides, giving you sense of a slight demonic presence. The friends I took to this show felt a little uneasy with the aura of the show as a whole, feeling that it wasn’t for them because of the imagery being displayed. Yes, there is dark imagery in here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its evil or even satanic, sometimes I think people don’t want to face the evil they see in others, because they see some of it in themselves. And despite all that, I don’t think French himself is a Satanist, I mean there’s plenty of us out there that go and watch a movie like The Human Centipede… and it’s not for the “gripping” storyline, it’s for the imagery. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the imagery here is dark, but it’s still beautiful, French is an incredible artist and you shouldn’t let your notions of what is perceived as evil get in they way of appreciating it. [Maybe I just went with the wrong people...?]

One more thing that should be noted about this show is that it’s incredibly cheap, the cheapest pieces start at $55 with the larger ones being about $375, with one extra piece hitting the $1000+ mark, which is stupid cheap. There’s also a small booklet with a collection of the work on display and more for $30 available too, which I may pick up next week. I don’t usually talk that much about prices at shows, unless I;ve bought something, but I thought I should let you all know about this cause that shit shocked me, super cheap!

This fantastic show runs ’til the 18th of February, so get in quick before this one says goodbye!

French

Backwoods Gallery

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