March 29-April 28, 2007
By Christina Livadiotis,
“In his work, and as seen through Inside Looking Out, Mineo uses tromp l’oeil illusionism to create dense objects ridden with underlying images and implication.”
Happy Sad, by Louisiana native Ted Mineo, opened Thursday, March 28 in its own side room of the Deitch Projects on 76 Grand Street. The exhibit features an ambitious new painting entitled Inside Looking Out, which itself consists of two paintings called “Happy” and “Sad.” Inside Looking Out marks the first New York solo exhibition for the 25-year-old Brooklyn artist. After studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning a BFA in 2002, Mineo went on to receive an MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2004. Mineo is best known for “repackaging elements of modern life,” by often referencing certain facets of the American proverbial dialogue, such as science fiction, Walt Disney, consumerism, household products and so forth. Mineo even draws some stylistic references from the Walt Disney animation of the Pinocchio-era, as seen through Happy Sad, and also from Dutch genre painters. This current exhibition, as with his stylistic icons, represent a sort of counterfeit world in which aspects of life and human emotion become highly romanticized, and perhaps even over-simplified. In his work, and as seen through Inside Looking Out, Mineo uses tromp l’oeil illusionism to create dense objects ridden with underlying images and implication. In such a way, Mineo explores the transient power of symbols, objects, and images in his works, highlighting the variable significance of “things.”
In his current exhibition, the paintings “Happy” and “Sad” face each other in the small white-walled room, allowing the afternoon sun to beam through the space between them. Jasmine Levett of Deitch Projects instructs viewers to stand directly in the middle of the two paintings while observing them. Then, while standing there, she further suggests that I “look back and forth between the two paintings periodically,” apparently to elicit the intended dichotomy of emotion that the artist intended when creating Inside Looking Out. In “Happy,” yellow light radiates from within the painting itself and seems to pour out so forcefully that it reaches the outer layer of “Sad.” “Happy” ultimately proves unsuccessful in its efforts to penetrate its’ counterparts dismal blue surface, for there is no light coming from within “Sad.” The flat murky blue of its background indicates an inherent lack of internal light. Broken branches and drafty holes, that seem to form a frown, indicate the disaster, destruction, and misery that becomes “Sad,” which is fragmented within its own being. In contrast “Happy” radiates light over and below the clouds as open doors entice the viewer to look in and be a part of the virile setting, which is decorated with budding branches and nebulous clouds.