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Varnish Fine Art
Varnish Fine Art
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Life Aquatic
November 7 - December 9, 2006
Opening Reception: Saturday November 11, 7-11pm
Life Aquatic
Beware the undertow at this group show of paintings with fantastical aquatic theme, featuring Beth Bojarski, Jason D'Aquino, Aron Ives, Skot Olsen, Michael Page, Reuben Rude, Thomas Rude, and Dylan Sisson.

Drawings by Jason D'Aquino reflect the influence of his childhood fascination with fairy tales and nursery rhymes. D'Aquino's preferred method of creation---using high-powered magnification glasses to aid int he development of painstakingly miniature scale pieces---makes casual observation of his work almost impossible. By juxtaposing old surfaces wiht new icons, time becomes confused and chronology comes into question. "It is," he says, "up to the viewer to figure out and cope with the anachronisms present in the work."

Life Aquatic is a perfect fit for Floridian Skot Olsen who grew up spending summers sailing up and down the coast of New England and all over the West Indies. This cultivated an interest for the strange beings that live in the sea. His work primarily deals with the human condition via a story that unravels within the painting before the viewer. "When not painting giant squid and sea captains," say Skot, "depicting cypress treas and fresh water springs populated with hillbillies are the topics I enjoy most."

Milwaukee artist Beth Bojarski serves up a world of disfigured whimsy and Gothic playfulness. An unseen but very much felt undertow-like force is at work.

Dylan Sisson describes what he does as "drawing and painting wall-eyed curiosities with big teeth." Since the very deepest parts of the ocean are seemingly filled with creatures that might fit this description, Dylan's work is tailor-made for the show; he looks for the point where compelling and repugnant intersect, and finds it. Many of the paintings seem to show creatures or subjects that feel somehow reduced or truncated in form, and to compensate the figures attempt to project an aggression that gamely tries to cover up their almost comic inherent vulnerability.

Though he now lives in San Francisco, Michael Page grew up in Southern California. The influence of a childhood making drawings based on Walt Disney films and cartoons is present in his painting. Now he looks for what he calls, "that hypnotic, dark beauty that at once attracts and repels, frightens and soothes." If that doesn't describe the ocean, we don't know what does.

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