Written by Carly Deblock
Beautiful women have inspired countless artists. From Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” to Boticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” women have played an important role as muses throughout the history of art. Jack Stricker continues this tradition in his two paintings “Sinister” and “Chaste” in his solo exhibition “Quality Control” currently on display at Thumbprint Gallery.
These paintings are a contemporary representation of ideal female beauty in our culture today. The women are both current with today’s idea of feminine beautiful. The artist’s unique twist on beauty lies in comparing two contrasting temperaments of women. “Sinister” is a gorgeous woman with a mysteriousness and fierce glance; while “Chaste” seduces the viewer with her innocence and openness.
A sultry woman peers out from behind her dark and flowing hair in “Sinister”. Her eyes and hair lead the viewer into the painting and this mysterious woman seems to have a secret behind her piercing glare. In contrast with the second painting, “Sinister” is definitely the woman that is up to no good. The woman is positioned on the left side of the circular wooden panel as she glances toward the viewer with her makeup covered eyes.
In comparison, “Chaste” has an inviting look of innocence. From the center of the painting, the woman gazes directly at the viewer in a welcoming manner. Her slight smile brings warmth to her expression and “Chaste” is asking the viewer to look at her. She seems to communicate a sense of virtue while also teasing the onlooker.
The strong style of these paintings emphasize the femininity and seduction of the women. The artist’s technique for the hair includes a stenciling of delicate lace, representing their feminine prowess and delicate features. The edges of the wooden panel are painted, one with black and one with white. The contrast of black and white furthers the juxtaposition of “Sinister” and “Chaste”. The medium used is spray-paint and oil paint, which both fuse together beautifully in the painting. The oil portraits capture the facial features of the women, emphasizing their flirtatious eyes, flawless makeup and pouty lips. A black outline around the image draws attention to the women and incorporates line-work to move the eye around the painting. These aspects of Stricker’s paintings work together to create a continued statement of female beauty.
“Sinister” and “Chaste” are just two paintings currently on display at Thumbprint Gallery. Other pieces in his solo show depict and utilize the world of animals, stencils, abstract shapes and graffiti. To see more of Stricker’s artwork visit Thumbprint Gallery on Kline Street in La Jolla. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm.
Written by Charity Lantz
At Thumbprint Gallery the peacock is symbolic of urban attitude. Elsewhere, peacocks are most often symbolic of immortality, especially in ancient Asian religions. Peacocks are also heavily referenced throughout the Christian religion and often included in the portion of the Bible on Armageddon. Peacocks are also strongly symbolic of grace, pride, and beauty. In Jack Stricker’s “Cock-Eyed,” all of these preexisting associations with peacocks are confronted, but yet stilled portrayed in further observation. This rebellion to tradition, “Cock-Eyed,” is on display at Thumbprint Gallery in Stricker’s solo show, “Quality Control.”
“Cock-Eyed” is made with acrylic and spraypaint on a 4ft x 4ft canvas. The sheer size immediately makes this artwork stand out, drawing our eyes to the enormous peacock looming off the wall. Stricker’s choice of color is almost psychedelic, which tends to suck the viewer further in. The peacock’s glare is perfectly eye level with the viewer, creating again that momentary questioning bond. All of these qualities seem to confirm original associations with the image of a peacock.
The peacock’s feathers are splayed in an utmost defense or show position. In nature, the peacock only raises his tail for two reasons: to scare of attackers and to attract a mate, two contrasting ideas of repelling and attracting. The displaying position strongly recalls ideas of pride and beauty. The peacock’s beauty is clearly evident in the displaying of its feathers, which are known to be vastly colorful and flowing. Yet, Stricker’s peacock’s feathers are oddly translucent, a faint pink glow, which allows the feathers to take on the detailed print in the background. The artist spraypainted a bronze lacey pattern in the background, which gradates, creating a sense of depth and space in the work. Even the lace in the work has connotations of grace and poise.
Initially the colors and sematic components draw the viewer in with ideas of grace, beauty, and pride, however the actual overall result is the viewer feeling confrontation while also in a state of mystification. The peacock is depicted in a stylized manner, which is reminiscent of graffiti in urban streets. This strongly contrasts with the spindling lace and notions of beauty and fluidity. The peacock’s stare is piercing and questioning, his stance aggressive and unnerving. It is interesting to imagine being confronted with the notion or opportunity of immortality. However, in the end, “talking” about a work is always relative; it is often more profound “seeing” an artwork in reality in its actual context, which for this piece lies at Thumbprint Gallery.