Wednesday, June 6, 2012 | 5:02 p.m.
- Life Room—Blue Screen
Artist Emily Scott left her native Las Vegas for Ireland, joining traditional realist painters at the Royal Hibernian Academy, worlds away from the kitsch aesthetic that permeated the scene when she was here. It’s a story that plays out almost biographically in Life Room–Blue Screen at Kleven Contemporary, where Scott’s traditional nudes, rendered during life-painting sessions at the esteemed academy, lounge amid campy backgrounds with Las Vegas references, the humorous and the sexy.
Scott, a superb technical painter who mastered glossy photorealism while in Las Vegas, now employs the European figurative style, doing commissions in Ireland, selling her works at auction and painting amid career realists who scratch their heads at the backgrounds added to her nudes for this show. That one of the paintings is titled after John Waters’ Pink Flamingos is no surprise. These paintings would cozy up nicely in his world.
In “Equestrian Aquatica,” a woman riding a merry-go-round-style seahorse underwater has bubbles emerging from her lips. In another work, a full-figured woman slumbers on a muted gold pillow near a vintage Shasta trailer in an endless grassy meadow with the sun breaking through the clouds. The hair and makeup of another model were altered to emphasize a ’70s style as she sits before the blazing lights of the Flamingo sign. A blonde lounging on a couch in Ireland has been transplanted to the poolside backyard of a mid-mod house with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon in full view.
It’s a fantastically clever show that straddles both worlds, entwining contemporary art, pulp and classical tradition.