Sleazy Rider at Leo Kesting

Originally posted at Gallerycrawl

“Sleazy Rider” at Leo Kesting Gallery

Under Pseudonym: Wilton Yakee

“Sleazy Rider” at the Leo Kesting Gallery, keeps with the venue’s affinity for youth and DIY-oriented art. The show displays a large breadth of work with its inclusion of five diverse artists: Greg Manis, Dave Tree, Sergio Coyote, Kelly Mudge and Martin McCormack. However, the diversity of work on display prevents the show from developing a unified theme.

The show’s namesake appears to be the photographs of Greg Manis. His large, seductive prints of pickup trucks and leggy women straddling bottles of Jack Daniels greet the viewer at the entrance to the gallery. These prints are reminiscent of Richard Prince’s photographs, which use images from motorcycle magazines. But while Prince’s work expose a realistic portrait of American beauty, Manis’s work reminds the viewer of American Apparel-chic. With their aesthetic and sex appeal, his prints would be well-suited for a hip fashion magazine, but don’t inspire further study or discourse.

The silkscreens and paintings of David Tree epitomize DIY or punk art with their illustrated images of whisky bottles, angels, and demons. A number of black-and-white pieces proclaim dismal prophesies in tattoo-shop script, such as “Broken Promises Last Forever.” The most interesting of these works are two smaller images of demons and torture, painted in a neo-medieval style, which make them feel as if they’ve been lifted straight from the set of a Renaissance Fair.

While a loose theme connects the works of Manis and Tree, the three painters presented in the gallery’s loft could have comprised a separate show. There are several paintings from Kelly Mudge’s series Engage, which feature vivid portraiture from forced perspectives. People napping on the subway are captured in the bright acrylic posterized portraits by Marin McCormak, cleverly titled Sleepers. And finally there is a sampling of Vomit-style paintings by Sergio Coyote, in which the artist slowly dripped watery acrylics onto paper, creating large splotches, on which he drew large, cartoonish eyes that guide the viewer to make figural associations. The splattered heads of these characters appear to be exploding or expanding, perhaps distorted by a relentless stream of media or hinting at the idea of the “connected” everyman or woman. In either case, these nearly goofy portraits convey an honest humanity and are the strongest works in the show.

“Sleazy Rider” offers disparate intriguing works, but subsequently avoids probing deeper into a unified concept. While giving the viewers much to think about, it doesn’t take them from one place to another.

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