Jaime Treadwell at Cerulean

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Jamie Treadwell
Jaime Treadwell, The End

Neo-Pink, Jaime Treadwell’s one-man show at Cerulean Arts Gallery, combines off-the-hook oil painting technique with a post-Apocalyptic world in cotton candy pink.

The lipsticky desolate landscapes with overturned vehicles and used-car-lot pennants or blobs of falling oobleck are sad and interesting. They have a sense of Mad Max finding his way through what’s left and making the best of things.

Jaime Treadwell
Jaime Treadwell, Alone II

The peopled images are another story, even though they are peopling the same sort of milieu. There’s something unnatural about them. The perfect, but hard-eyed children with their camouflage vests and antenna-topped helmets are pod people, and not to be trusted. The visual references are to advertising cherubs selling Pillsbury or Campbell’s.

Jaime Treadwell
Jaime Treadwell, Synthetical

Treadwell, who has a Penn MFA (2002) and teaches at the Academy, has a detached view of the women he paints. They are completely flat, cheesy and out of the fashion-queen mold. Two women in gowns are paper dolls beneath cut-out fashions. Two women on the dock beside an ocean liner are also purely decorative and flat.

So while I liked the painting technique as well as the graphite drawings, I found myself wondering about the point of the imagery. Treadwell’s statement says it’s an affirmative statement of people surviving in a disastrous environment and a war culture. But turning a human into a soul-less creature is not the equivalent of survival.

The Man Boys, Playground II
The Man Boys, Playground II

I almost wish the play pictures were less about apocalypse, because to put normal children in these rolls would be saying something more to the point.

A previous image I had seen by Treadwell at Abington Art Center, also a pink piece, showed a chunky, vulnerable guy in a superhero costume (post here). I liked it. It had something going on about sexual identity as well as role-playing of a somewhat edgy nature.

But in Neo-Pink the tenderness is gone. I hope he finds it again.

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cerulean arts, jaime treadwell

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