Art Exhibit Review 01.01 – “In a Galaxy, Far, Far, Away” at LITM

Star Wars in the last forty years has become a very large part of pop culture. The evil Empire oppresses their people. They treat aliens as a lower class than the humans. They kill without care all to keep their power. In the end, they lose to the Rebellion. The modern myth continues to remain poignant even as it ages.

The art exhibit showcases both classic on screen moments, such as Craig Mahoney’s “The Dark Lord” done in acrylic, as well as a commentary on contemporary culture, such as Luis Alves Collage’s “The Force” which correlates Harvey Weinstein with the Empire. Cecelia Martinez’s “Star Pistols” brings us back to the Sex Pistol’s God Save the Queen album cover with Princess Leia taking the place of the Queen. All of these combine to create an exhibit much like the movies themselves. They create larger than life characters we want to see succeed.

Due to the large scale of the exhibit and multitude of great artists, I recommend coming down and seeing it as a whole. I plan on looking at four specific pieces revolving around my personal favorite character, Princess Leia. Doing so, I hope to show the wide spectrum of artists that are in the exhibit and entice the few who have not seen the show to come down.

“Girl in White with Blaster” by Andrea Artemis Morin sums of the princess immensely. She creates a beautiful female form with the acrylic on canvas. It’s one of the first things you see when entering the restaurant and draws your attention. Morin references the style of Tamara de Lempicka, an Art Deco artist from the 20’s-30’s. The red background makes the princess pop and the look on her eyes remain focused holding onto the secrets of the rebellion. Andrea herself is the curator of LITM.

Rochelle Fox’s “Maiden, Mother, Crone” recreates the Princess, and Carrie Fischer, throughout her years in the Star Wars movies. The diamond dust, glitter, and sequin background gives the entire painting adds an air of royalty that the gold filigree surrounding the princess merely compliments nicely. It shows Leia as a member of the rebellion holding a blaster, a leader within the rebellion standing tall, and then a General of the Resistance as an older woman.

The colored pencil “Leia” by Craig Mahoney remains one of my favorite. His photorealistic style captures the beautiful princess in her introduction and iconic scene at the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV. He creates such a vivid image that captures the moment and allows you to see every line drawn on the gray toned paper. He has several sketches, prints, and paintings in the show and each looks as beautiful as the next.

The collage and acrylic “The Princess” by Elise Jimenez showcases Leia as a Rebellion fighter. With the symbol for the New Republic on top of book pages in the background, she wonderfully stands out in her white with her black gun. She has the same intense look that Carrie Fischer had in the movies. It’s a wonderful piece like Craigs above and both have art of Han Solo sitting close to them to showcase their relationship.

“Star Pistols” references a wonderful album by the “Sex Pistols” and bridges the idea further with the name of the piece. Cecelia Martinez takes the political album cover and makes it into a contemporary piece of art. The idea of social change with the Sex Pistols represented works perfectly within the Star Wars cannon as the Princess herself tries to fight for change in the universe. The mi media art creates a beautiful image that showcases Leia.

“Raggedy Leia” by Vanessa Velez links to a very different character. This image has a playful tone linking Leia to the character of Raggedy Ann. The images of red hair and the donut hairdo create an interesting combination making it look a bit like a donut crawler. The pants and shoes link to the doll wonderfully.

This is not Princess Leia. To complete the exhibit, I wanted to give a special shout-out to my little brother. “8-Bit BB-8” by Jacob Bell sits proudly on the back corner of the bar. He sent the painting from South Dakota to be in his first gallery show. Mostly known for doing the windows at the Brookings Books and Comics, he did one of his first canvas paintings for the exhibit.

Droids, Princesses, and Dark Lords abound in the latest LITM gallery show. The show continues through December 3rd at 140 Newark Ave in historic Downtown Jersey City. If you like any of the pieces, please contact the curator Andrea Morin at andrea@litm.com and for more art or information on events follow LITMJC on Facebook and Instagram.

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