Artist Tom Neely's upcoming solo show at L.A.'s Black Maria Gallery, "Self Indulgent Werewolf," encompasses three new painting series and a sculpture installation.
In his latest works, Neely continues to challenge the obsolete delineations between cartoon and fine art. While his style is rooted in classic comic strips of the 1920s and 30s, Neely uses scale, medium and expressive line work to present his cartoon-like images in a more human light and -- drawing from influences as diverse as "Popeye" cartoonist E.C. Segar, Lucien Freud and Renee Magritte -- proves that cartoons can be as revelatory as any other form of art.
Neely is part of the artist collective Igloo Tornado, which exhibited at Black Maria in September of 2006 and will be at the gallery again in February 2008. This is Neely's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, and it coincides with the release of his first graphic novel, "The Blot."
In "The Blot," a mysterious everyman who has been a recurring character in Neely's paintings is plagued by a menacing blot of ink, which -- despite being made of the same substance that gives the character life -- threatens constantly to envelop him in darkness as he struggles with love, loss, and paranoia.
Picking up where "The Blot" left off, the paintings in "Self Indulgent Werewolf" mark the beginning of a new cycle of Neely's work that will culminate with the publication of his second graphic novel, currently in progress.
DJ, Aaron Turner, lead singer of Isis, will be spinning music that will include a few selections from the exhibition's soundtrack composed by Tom Neely.
For this exhibition, Tom Neely and Black Maria have produced a box set of 5x7 giclee prints of the Self Indulgence Series, all numbered and signed.