Jim Riswold: Make Believe Artist
G. Gibson Gallery
Seattle WA July 3-August 16, 2008
Jim Riswold, Andy of Liberty (2008) archival digital print [G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle WA, Jul 3-Aug 16]
Jim Riswold honed his aptitude for clever thinking during his years as creative director for the Portland ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. Riswold worked on popular campaigns for Nike, including the commercial where Tiger Woods juggles a golf ball.
Riswold now exercises his conceptual wit in humorous works that are often ludicrous or absurd. He turned to fine art several years ago after being diagnosed with leukemia and found the process to be therapeutic and fun. He now uses satire as a way to confront subjects that are ordinarily taboo in the realm of humour.
In his work, he juxtaposes the unexpected and contradictory to make his points. For example, he sets dolls, puppets and figurines in satirical circumstances, like a miniature toy of Julius Caesar photographed in the middle of a large Caesar salad. In his new exhibit, Make Believe Artist, Riswold turns his sense of parody on icons of the art world -- much lighter subjects than the mid-20th century dictators Hitler and Stalin he ridiculed in past work.
His homage to Frida Kahlo and to Andy Warhol portray figurines like anatomical diagrams in medical charts. The captions underscore painful milestones or "owies" in each of their lives. Another work plays off Damien Hirst's diamond-encrusted skull, For the Love of God (2007), by coating a skull with rainbow-coloured candy sprinkles.