Craig LaRotonda , Divine Messenger, 2011; Paper, Gypsum, Acrylic, Oil, Wax, Bird Wings, Doll Eyes, Velvet and Found Objects, 18 x 20 inches; Private Collection
Craig LaRotonda: Divine Messengers
On View Friday, September 8, 2017–Sunday, January 28, 2018
Craig LaRotonda weds figurative works with dark elements of surrealism. His mysterious genre of artistry comes to life using a variety of mediums—oil, acrylic, gold leaf, wood, paper, wax, and found-objects—to create paintings and sculptures that are richly layered and enchanted. With a blend of media, LaRotonda explores the human condition by indirectly referencing the primal, mystical, and alien.
Although a dark place for investigation, through paintings and sculpture, Craig LaRotonda’s work suggests that our free-thinking selves have been left behind, and maybe it is the savage that still remains. LaRotonda peers into our past selves, and instead of the popular images of savagery, asks what if that origin story was the enlightened being. It is as if he says: Let’s start again—this human thing seems to have run amok.
Inspired by watching Planet of the Apes as a child and a love for the Halloween holiday, LaRotonda has said, “complex sociological themes are a source of inspiration. Seeing all the similarities that humans and primates share brought forth questions about treatment and equality of lifeforms.” Specifically, the work Samson in this exhibition is an homage and portrait of a specific gorilla, the first he ever saw as a child. That experience was remembered by LaRotonda: “Both [of the gorillas at the zoo] looked sad in these cells, really prison cells with metal bars. They would sit there and you could look directly into their eyes, a moving experience for me. I felt compassion towards them.”