Weird Queer Freaky Xmas
One strong justification for the myths from childhood was to reinforce the awareness of the existence of the two major themes, Good and Evil. The world was made to seem light in the face of these opposing concepts, the illustrations colourful and the stories couched in visually fantastic creations - princes, dragons, giants, and magical animals both beneficent and maleficent. The presentation was glossy, pastel, easily read, entertaining with pop-ups and cut-outs to soften the blows from the bad guys or sweeten the fire from the steamy mouths of the brimstone group (dragons, devils, demons).
Joseph Anderson brings these naďve references up to snuff, to serve as stand-ins for adult realties, often hard core and found within the context of Fine Arts. The subject shifts, slightly. The giant squid carrying off the pale-skinned young men is dappled with an abstract expressionist, painterly coloring that equals the intensity of the squirming octapus abductor. There is the hint of a thrill at the adventure, a sensual identification with the long phallic arms of the victimizer. This gratification from fear has more of the excitement of a challenging extreme sport than a real horrific experience. It is the safe net of vicarious knowledge stretched below the danger to allow for an imaginative participation in a happening that resonates from the memory or dreams. Anderson has also employed the use of cut-outs in his work, making use of the transformative potential like the easy change-of-role that the cut out dolls with their tabbed on clothes could affect. Replete with their two dimensional personalities, his cut out images have the paper thin disposability and hence vulnerability of playthings. The erotic nuances abide however and link the innocence to a type of role playing that allows unspeakable notions to be met square on at least within the visual realities that Art, another great theme, permits.
The work falls between fun and serious parody, an apt metaphorical position for philosophical meanderings. Anderson “wracks the mortal coil” with his dreams and places the simple illustrations from childhood in a more characteristic stance of adult awareness.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes