The Drawers - Tom Wren  Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Tom Wren is a bad boy. He makes fun of people. He puts beards on ladies and dresses men up in polka dotted dresses with yellow knee highs. Sometimes, he's even mean to his characters - scratching out their faces and spattering blobs of muck on them. Tom Wren's surfaces in the developed works reference the patinas of time, stressed and seemingly dirtied. They appear to have been left out in the rain or soiled by the oily touch of ancient fingers.

Living in Vancouver East, near the denizens and misfits, he harnesses the fringes and spanks. He also empathizes and it is in his ability to grant dignity that his work touches us, much as the classic comedies lent relief to the tragedies and gave voice to feelings too tender to speak of seriously.

Studies for Fashion Victims pokes fun at the industry, but not at the people. The little blue-gray characters are proud of how they look - insanely proud. Their clothes, the fashion, are inconsequential. They know that they look terrific and their faces as the focus of Wren's attention, declare it. Whether it is a sultry one eyed 'come hither' glance, a gleeful, skipping run for the picture, a smiling declaration of individuality, or the humble, stooped pride of an aging profile; these 'fashion victims' provoke ardor. They're doted upon.

An avatar of alternative imagery, Tom Wren's work resonates (his characters are all too familiar) and serves as a reminder of our unsubstantial posturing.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers