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Childish

Macj Turla

July 1-29, 2023

Video
Press Release

The Foulies Of You

In Childish, Macj Turla's third solo exhibition, the artist delves into the complex themes of escapism, the fear of growing up, and the weight of taking responsibility. Through a collection of freshly produced wide-eyed paintings framed by wood textures or hand-wrought, black-painted epoxy clay, Turla invites us to explore the nuances of human emotions and behavior, shedding light on the struggles and conflicts that lie beneath the surface of our daily lives and familiar characters in our surroundings that dwell on denial.

Hide and Giggle presents a figure seeking cover behind a gray wall, addressing the childlike desire to escape from reality and evade the challenges that come with maturity. The piece serves as a reminder of the allure of a carefree existence, while his hidden playmates, chasers, and competitors personify the responsibilities and expectations that we often try to hide from. Inhaling Humor smokes out the allure of chemical substances as a means of altering one's perception of reality, prompting us to reflect on the human tendency to seek temporary relief from the pressures of adulthood, unmindful of the costs and long-term consequences. In this piece, the artist seemingly urges us to confront our vulnerabilities and question the paths we choose to escape from the struggles of growing up. Emotion Tag-a-Tag, a series of four pieces, prompts us to use the appropriate facial expression for each emotion as Turla delves into the concept of creating the various masks we wear to navigate social interactions and personal struggles. Each painting portrays what appears to be a drawing on paper, replete with the illusion of folds and crinkles, that people put in front of their actual faces to project an image, gain acceptance, or even survive in a world that demands a game face. In a way, the artist challenges us to question the authenticity of our emotions and invites us to embrace vulnerability and honesty.

Keeping in mind Turla’s creative journey and past experiences in his relatively young life, we have seen his previous solo exhibitions reflect specific memories of tragedy and consequence; Childish veers away from the burnt parts, evocative line-heavy multilayered images, and chaotic compositions of his past works. His imagery now may appear simpler and less cluttered, but it does not lighten meaning-making in any way. It is an open invitation to look beyond the surface level and ponder what each piece actually says—what appears playful may not be all it seems, as we often get distracted by our judgment of what adults are supposed to be. More sinister forces might be at hand, or perhaps it is the dogged resistance to actively seeking solutions instead of immersing one in self-sabotaging abysmal situations; indeed, the vices quirkily portrayed in his works only result in foul confrontations with life’s follies, and we can always do better. Imponderous, mischievous, and lingering on naivete, the copious use of concrete colors reminds one of the dappled streets of youth, scratched with stone to draw whatever a child sees. Only now have clouds turned into smoke and trees into beer bottles. Innocent eyes droop heavy with worry. Everyone eventually grows old and gray, so maybe a little childishness should be OK?

Kaye O'Yek

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