Curator of the upcoming exhibition "Dark Water," Brooklyn-based painter Martin Wittfooth drops his brush in favor of hand-selecting contemporaries who inspire him, compiling 29 representational painters' whose visions reflect the exhibition's namesake. Wittfooth admits, "As an artist in the curator's seat, I've been very biased in who I invited due to my own tastes, but I think this approach has made it a rather focused project."
The exhibition's haunting works shock and entrance with challenging variations on the mythic visual theme. Standout pieces include Christian Rex Van Minnen's grotesquely surreal creature, the mythology of Caitlin Hackett, a pregnant Venus by Steven Assael, and a continuation of Jason Yarmosky's Elder Kinder portraits.
Wittfooth recognizes dark water as an allusion to the inner self, but chooses paintings that tie in relevant global issues such as environmental imbalance and dependence on industry. Presenting new takes on antiquity is nothing new for Wittfooth—his solo show "The Passions," currently running at NYC's Lyons Wier Gallery, is a contemporary exploration of martyrdom, depicting enormous animals as the subjects of antiquated devotional paintings.
Wittfooth explains, "The image of dark water shows up in a lot of my own work and I felt that it would be an interesting symbol for other artists to work with—the title, Dark Water, is the theme itself." With this, Wittfooth presents a collaborative resurrection of the symbol's timeless intrigue.
"Dark Water" runs from 12 November through 3 December 2011 at the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.