Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Aesthetics of Dread

Calamity (2011) by Ray Caesar

At the Corey Helford Gallery, the current exhibit is "A Dangerous Inclination," featuring the works of Ray Caesar, displaying his disturbing vision of a twisted Rococo world where beauty is but a facade, hiding a chthonic reality of nightmares and monstrosities.

Scenes of beauty are transgressed by the weird, insectoid legs extending from beneath the ample skirts of Fragonardian ladies, tentacles forming from the silken fabrics of an evening dress, turning an image of voyeuristic thrill into a recoiling vision of horror. It is a reality in which wrongness reigns. Though fully embracing of the dark fantastic, the images retain a Rococo sensibility towards the precious, the gorgeous, the sumptuous, even if vermin swarm the subject.

The contrast between that which invites and that which repels ignites the spark of dramatic conflict in the viewer's imagination, simultaneously inflaming the passions of desire and disgust, searing the beautiful abominations into the mind. It is a vision in which Beauty is the Beast!

Eris (2011) by Ray Caesar

Dark delicacies from a world of dangerous beauty.

I've avoided displaying some of the creepier images because I found them way too haunting for Paideia, but this one gets the point across:

Siren (2011) by Ray Caesar

The seductive malevolence of the scene is captivating, enthralling the viewer with rich textures, opulent details, and a sensuous figure.

This exhibit is on display until November 12 at the Corey Helford Gallery. It is well worth checking out.

Here is a vid detailing some of Ray Caesar's work.


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