Sunday, September 26, 2010

Judging books by their cover ...

Growing up, Los Angeles native Mike Stilkey must have been a librarian's worst nightmare.  But today, his mix of ink, colored pencil, paint and laquer applied to book covers is an artistic achievement. His whimsical cast of characters offer an introspective look into Stilkey's melancholic and mysterious mind.

Of course, his skill provides us with images that would be captivating on any surface. But, Stilkey manages to take his talent to enormous heights by stacking books to create the very canvas for his work.

His style has been described by some as "capturing features of artists ranging from Edward Gorey to Egon Schiele," but for me, I'd say he captures the vivid perception we had of adults as youth. Everyone is long, lanky, mature and dealing with some unseen issues.

Even the creatures Silkey creates have a human agenda - they travel, persue a variety of interests. It's as if the artist is capturing his youthful years spent daydreaming of a more exciting existence.

His hauntingly elusive and anemic subjects feel like transparent visages on the stacks of strongly-bound books, creating a sculpture that is both ethereal and profound.

Silkey's work can be seen at the Kinsey/DesForges Gallery, David B. Smith Gallery, Gilman Contemporary Gallery, BLK/MRKT Editions or on Silkey's website. I don't think I could ever tire of seeing more of his creative genius!

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