gimme gimme gimme
the express line
i stumbled upon the work of local new jersey artist celeste rapone (a RISD graduate) and was drawn to her series on religion... her oil on canvas paintings of jesus and co., with jesus surrounded by patterns of colorful peeps and chocolate bunny candies or lil' miss, a beauty pageant-inspired youthful virgin mary with baby doll jesus resonate with my twisted views on catholicism. after an email correspondence with the artist, i'm learning more about her work and influences... i just bought a fabulous print of gimme gimme gimme that i can't wait to frame and hang on my wall (this painting evokes for me that odd rite of passage i suffered through in childhood -- CCD and indoctrination).
in her own words, read celeste's take on her religiously inspired work--
Growing up Catholic in northern New Jersey meant taking my religion very seriously (or at least making sure it appeared that way on the surface). As a young child in North Jersey, however, a vital part of being Catholic meant letting everyone else know you were Catholic. This was obviously not done by practicing or abiding by the rules of Catholicism, but in religiously inspired personal decor and embracing the accessibility of going to church or confession once a year around the holidays. This plastic idea of fulfilling one’s Catholic duties as a young boy or girl by materially exhibiting the icons of the religion led to the most superficial and misunderstood displays of Catholicism I have ever encountered. This series, based on my experiences growing up in this environment, is meant to capture the exploitation and convenience of calling oneself “Catholic” in a modern-day society.
celeste also has a series on medication and portraits... this month her work is part of an exhibition at the visual arts center of new jersey... see more of her work at juxtapoz, then catch her 2008 solo show at phoenix gallery in nyc (where she just won a 2008 fellowship)!
stay tuned for my Q and A with the artist...