Whimsey and exaggeration will take center stage at In-Town Gallery for the month of July when artist-member Bradley Wilson presents “The Cartoon Buffet.”
This collection of new work consists of paintings and drawings depicting dancers, birds, fish, cats, flowers and other subjects in a humorous manner.
All will be introduced at the opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on the First Friday, July 5.
The artist said that “increasingly, I am becoming more and more interested in taking a subject and stretching it, pulling it, squashing it, and generally twisting it up so that the overall effect surprises me.”
He said, “We’ve all seen countless paintings of dancers and birds. My goal as an artist is to take a familiar subject and play with it through exaggeration and distortion until it is presented as something unexpected and pleasing to myself, and hopefully to whomever sees it.”
Some of the pieces in “The Cartoon Buffet” also suggest a narrative that the viewers must figure out for themselves.
In Wilson’s painting, “Navigating Through Birds and Snakes,” an elongated cat stretches across the canvas intertwined with a snake and surrounded by birds. There is an uneasy tension between the creatures in the painting.
The viewer must wonder, “What is happening here? Is this just a painting of caricatured animals or is the artist suggesting some kind of story or message?”
“I like to personify animals and make humans look more primal. Sometimes my only motivation for creating a specific character is just for the fun of it. There is no meaning intended other than what the viewer brings to it,” Wilson explained.
His painting process is fluid and organic. He constantly makes changes throughout the creation of the piece.
His philosophy of painting is to be open and responsive to the moment. “Connecting with the present and finding the potential — this is what my work is about.”
Wilson, 43, a lifelong resident of Chattanooga, received degrees in painting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (bachelor of fine arts in 1994) and the University of Mississippi (master of fine arts 1997).
He is the gallery/visual arts director of the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton, Ga.
He resides with his wife, Mandy, seven dogs and one cat. Seeking to reach a wide range of collectors, his work varies from quick ink sketches on paper to large, multifigured acrylics.
His paintings, drawings, and sculptures are in many private and corporate collections in the United States and Europe. He has also exhibited in galleries and museums across the Southeast.
In-Town Gallery, founded in 1974, is one of the oldest cooperative galleries in the nation.
It presents the original work of more than 30 regional studio artists. At 26A Frazier Ave.
in Chattanooga, between the Market Street and Walnut Street bridges, it is adjacent to Coolidge Park on the North Shore.
For more information, call 423-267-9214, or visit www.intowngallery.com. or www.facebook.com/intowngallery.