Paradise at The Frame
“Paradise” is a word that means something different to everyone — it can conjure images of serene bliss, reckless violence, vast treasures, or simple pleasures. We often construct paradises in our minds, places where our inner thoughts and desires are set free and allowed to fulfill themselves. In “Paradise,” a display at The Frame gallery by junior fine arts majors Nicholas Sardo and Daniel Kim, this mental palace is brought into the real world. The artists use the walls of the gallery to create a paradise for their inner thoughts to roam free and express themselves.
“Paradise” is clearly influenced by street art; Kim, who handled the acrylic ink drawings said he draws much inspiration from rap music and hip-hop culture. Sardo also referenced this influence in his choice of spray paint as the medium for many of his contributions.
Many of the images are surreal, humorous, and, though there is no intended narrative, message-laden. Sandcastles sprout hairy arms and legs, a Ku Klux Klan member sports robes bearing the middle finger, and four-eyed swans fly alongside four-eyed devils.
“We’re a generation that lives in our own heads a lot of the time, so we wanted to take those characters that live in our imaginations and set them free,” Sardo said.
The centerpiece of the work is Baffi, a large blue creature that snakes along the walls. Ruptures in his body suggest that the rest of the world is exploding out of him, ripping him apart in the process.
“All of these characters are original inventions for this show, although elements of them appear in some of my other work.… Baffi is an example of that; he’s a character I’ve been working with for a few years,” Sardo explained.
The two artists constructed the piece over the course of a week, bringing in a rough outline of how it would look but primarily allowing their creativity and feeling to determine the particulars. “We listened to a lot of My Chemical Romance,” Kim said.
Audience reactions at the show’s opening on Friday night were positive, with guests slowly walking around the room, inspecting each aspect of the incredibly rich world the artists had created on the wall.
“It’s exciting.… There’s a lot of movement happening in this piece, and it gives a lot of life to the show,” said junior fine arts major Carolina Vogt.
“Paradise” also incorporates the use of sculpture in a large, pink creature adorned with thick lips curled in a tight, menacing smile and what appears to be a string of intestines running out of the door. Furthermore, color is used sparesely and interestingly highlights some of the more disgusting elements of the piece, such as the slugs that adorn one wall.
All in all, “Paradise” is an immersive and imaginative experience that begs its visitors to look at the world around them with a fresh and interesting perspective. It will be on display at The Frame through next Sunday.