|Kelly Boehmer, Unicorns (I Am Breaking Eddie Vedder's Heart)
mixed media, 2010
I also love the subjects she chooses--unicorns, leviathans, giants birds. All huge, huggable looking creatures that appeal to the part of me that has never left first grade.
But Boehmer's art isn't just cute colorful stuff for kids--she juxtaposes horrible, disgusting, and macabre elements with these whimsical images. The flowers in the blood draining from the unicorn's chest, for example, are provocative in the way they suggest a beauty in a fatal wound.
When I read Boehmer's artist statement on the "Cute and Creepy" website, I was impressed, because my reactions were just what she was aiming for. Often, I find myself scratching my head when I read what an artist was going for, but with Boehmer's work, I just nodded in agreement.
Boehmer says, "I want the work to have a childlike appearance that is both pitiful and magical. Seductive colors and textures are used to entice the viewer, but they are then reminded of the base things that connect us as humans by seeing the piss, puke, and feces."
|Kelly Boehmer, Peace Dove
mixed media, 2007
But Boehmer's sculpture reminds us that there is so much more to the story than that. Along with the hope and peace, there is exhaustion, anger, and urine. And while some might argue that looking at the hope and peace by itself is more beautiful, as Boehmer points out, the piss, puke, and feces remind us of what connects us all on the most basic level. It's the mixture of these impulses that makes Boehmer's art so compelling and that holds your attention after the glow of the bright colors has faded.
All images copyright Kelly Boehmer 2011. Used with permission.