Ryan Heshka announces his first solo art installation project, presented by the Wieden + Kennedy Gallery in Portland, Oregon. "For this show, Heshka resurrects his Mean Girls characters: a band of vicious female hoodlums devoid of morality but oozing with feminine pulchritude."
July 3rd – July 30th
Opening: Thursday July 3rd, 6 – 10 p.m.
Wieden + Kennedy Gallery
224 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, USA 97209
This show coincides with Portland's famous First Thursday art crawl, opening Thursday July 3rd, from 6 to 10 p.m. The artist will be in attendance.
For this show, Heshka resurrects his Mean Girls characters: a band of vicious female hoodlums devoid of morality but oozing with feminine pulchritude. The focal point of the installation is a life-sized clubhouse of the Mean Girls, equipped with peepshow-like portholes for the viewer to glimpse the inner world of this imagined secret society via artifacts and a continuous audio/video projection. From the inside, these holes transform onlookers into a display of human taxidermy, trophies of the Mean Girls. Simultaneously, the viewers identify with both the victim and aggressor, and are immersed in the fantasy of stepping out of their civilian skins and into a Neanderthal-esque existence of actions without consequence. The tensions between urge and its release, beauty and grotesqueness, and feminine/masculine identities are explored and revealed.
Heshka steps away from his comfort zone of painted imagery to adapt new choices of multi media to bring the Mean Girls to life. These include lo tech and tactile forms such as super 8mm film (including live action and stop motion animation), crude wood construction, silk screens, large typographical treatments, sound design and a risograph comic book of the Mean Girls Club. Texture, sound, color and visuals were chosen for their malign qualities. Unapologetically referencing childhood obsessions such as low budget schlock films, pre-code horror comics, true crime magazines and film noir, a fascination with the ugliness and ferocity of humankind is countered with camp and a sense of wonder.
This show is a culmination of Heshka's background in animation and interior design, and fifteen years as a full time artist and illustrator. His artwork has appeared in the pages of the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and Playboy, as well as numerous book jackets. He has released two children's books, one of which, "Welcome to Monster Town", was optioned by DreamWorks. His personal art has been exhibited in galleries across North America and Europe, with two European solo shows slated for 2015. In addition, Heshka has recently been hired on at Emily Carr University of Art + Design as a sessional instructor in the illustration department. He lives and works in Vancouver, with his wife Marinda, and their mean cat Louis.