It’s not very often that an artist manages to combine the image of a nun with a housemaid in one canvas, but LA-based artist Wendell Gladstone has done just that…and more! The icons of his epic paintings interact purposefully, whilst colours and patterns bounce off one another like a five-year-old child on a sugar high. The content of his work references social and religious figures and objects, using both 3D and 2D renderings of forms. This bizarre spatial awareness in the picture plane makes my head spin as I look for a point of reference to allow my eyes to adjust.
In the same way that street and graffiti art has resonance within it’s environment, Gladstone’s images need space to be viewed – I wonder what they would do if they were on a billboard or side of a building? His images look as though they could also be album cover art, leading me to believe his work is part of a more general trend towards a ‘visually noisy’ design based aesthetic. This doesn’t, however, undermind the fact that these painting are meticulously executed – time and love have been the ingredients (along with some vivid pigments). Gladstone’s little housemaid appears in many of the images, which is a little unsettling, especailly when she is suspended in mid-air in a plastic bag!
Text by Marion Piper.