Monday, November 23, 2009

Exhibition Glimpse: Woodmansee & Twilley at Velvet Monkey

Imaginative and realistic draftsmanship highlight both David Woodmansee and Brandi Twilley’s show of macabre drawings, which opened at the Velvet Monkey Salon on 16th street in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District on Friday the 13th.

Woodmansee’s drawings are fanciful and mesmerizingly detailed ink and marker creations executed with a smooth, illustrative touch. Most are black and white or sepia renderings, where color is splashed sparingly. His subjects - animals, monsters, and vampy women, are at home in the dark palette which is used to create scenes of the absurd, the grotesque, and sometimes, the beauty beneath the menace.

Twilley’s work is a series of dense and precisely shaded pencil drawings, all of which pair two female skeletons mid-stroll on a fashion runway in a variety of settings and garb. The dreary frames sport both eyeballs and full heads of hair, but are absent any insulation minus the creations they are modeling.

Caustic and precious at the same time, the statement pieces have lovely texture. They are repetitious, symmetrical, and strangely calming. It’s easy to forget the gaunt frames are meant to be unsettling.

The skeletons serve as an antithesis of Woodmansee’s female forms, examining the menace beneath beauty, yet the two differing interpretations are not at odds, as the two artists’ styles are complementary.

The adage “the devil is in the details” comes to mind, as you see every bone in anatomically correct proportions and placement in Twilley’s work, and similarly, Woodmansee captures every pine of cactus, and every scale on a snake’s body. These artists miss nothing, and the sheer energy and concentration they have poured into these unassumingly small works (scale-wise) is awe-inspiring.

The show runs through December 11th, and some works are available for sale. The Velvet Monkey’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

by OVAC intern Sarah Clough Chambers

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