Art Opening: Vulnerable Gods by Terry Furry in Oakland
Oil paintings by Terry Furry
Opening Reception: October 3, 6-10 pm
October 3 - November 3
This October, Oakland artist Terry Furry returns to Loakal for his second solo exhibition with the gallery, Vulnerable Gods. Fascinated by the nuances that lie between seemingly opposing concepts, Furry exposes the ways fragility and sensitivity can exist within moments of strength and perseverance. Each large-scale oil painting in the show is inspired by a different Greco-Roman mythological hero. An alternative to typical portrayals of manhood, Furry’s large-scale portraits present a complicated view of masculinity that greatly departs from the “boys don’t cry” ethos of our culture. His cast of heroes — Narcissus, Icarus, Orpheus and Adonis, to name a few — are depicted with a sensuality that allows viewers to connect with them on an emotional level.
"The personalities of mythology have been portrayed in a great variety of art forms for centuries. Of course it was not my intention to recreate any of these works, but to find a fresh view and an original glimpse at this legendary cast", says Furry.
Though ancient in origin, Furry’s fallen heroes are connected to our time both through the content of his paintings and his techniques. Orpheus — a character who attempted to rescue his wife from the underworld with his beautiful music and eventually dies at the hands of those who cannot hear his divine melodies — is depicted as a fallen rockstar covering his exposed body with an electric guitar. Icarus, the mortal who flew too close to the sun with wings made of wax, is shown with crutches. In describing the legend of Icarus, the artist articulates how making oneself vulnerable is a courageous act in and of itself:
"Like all good myths, there is a moral to learn and to follow, and the story of Icarus was weighted down with the cautionary lesson concerning setting goals that are too lofty. But I see the exhilaration and passion he felt while flying, not his rebellious nature. The wings were faulty, not his spirit."
Like last year’s exhibition at Loakal, Intimate Strangers, Furry uses a painstakingly detailed oil painting technique that renders his figures flat yet photorealistic, mimicking the pixelated look of digital images. He lays down horizontal, linear brushstrokes on panels, creating planes of color that evoke the contrasting values of stencil art. In doing so, Furry puts the age-old craft of oil painting in dialogue with more contemporary modes of production. This aesthetic becomes important in tying stories from the ancient past into narratives that resonate with the digital age — a time when, as the artist puts it, smartphones have replaced the pool of Narcissus.
About: Terry Furry is an Oakland-based artist with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His artwork is represented in private collections internationally. Furry curated a public art installation at the Oakland City Hall, an exhibit recognized by Christian Frock of KQED as one of the Top 10 Outstanding Bay Area Art Experiences of 2012. His work has been featured in San Francisco magazine, Arrested Motion and Supersonic Electronic. His studio is located in Studios 11, an artist-run space adjoined to Loakal; 560 Second Street, Oakland, Califonria.
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