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Joerael Elliot
Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
by Amanda Malloy


Joerael Elliot, "October 1 2017 (58)," 2017, mixed media, 10 x 10"

Continuing through August 5, 2018

Joerael Elliot’s new exhibition “A Clip of Petals” is a refreshingly unique and surprisingly beautiful visual commentary on the hotly debated issues surrounding gun violence. Combining stunning floral imagery incorporating vivid and captivating colors and lines, Elliott juxtaposes the harsh mechanics of firearms with the sensuousness of flowers, which Elliott uses to symbolize the lives lost as a result of mass shootings. Lining one wall of the gallery, Elliott’s smaller scale paintings are hung perpendicular to the wall. On one side his gorgeous floral paintings are displayed, and on the other are hung images of gun machinery and shooting targets on stark black backgrounds. The pieces are titled with the location, date, and number of casualties of recent mass shootings in the U.S., offering a stark yet powerful interpretation of the work. 

 

The exhibition space is small, but Elliott uses it in creative and engaging ways. At the far end of the gallery is a large scale mural painted directly on the wall. It highlights Elliott’s graffiti style while remaining cohesively tied to the paintings on display. The mural incorporates corporeal imagery with flowers and symbols, similarly juxtaposing the intimidating images of gun practice targets and firearms. This singular work dominates the exhibition, but doesn’t overwhelm it. Two larger scale paintings balance out the third wall of the gallery, and further reflect Elliott’s graffiti style with its bold use of color and graphic elements. Contemporary artists are constantly finding ways to interpret and explore one of the most frightening and personal political issues we currently face. Jorael Elliot’s are a complex and strangely comforting addition to this dialogue.


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