Currently on view at Marc Straus Gallery in NYC, an exhibition by Paul Pretzer brings primates, cardinals and painterly expression together for a carnivalesque look at the history of art. Riffing off of classical compositions—most notably Spanish masters Velázquez and Goya—the Dresden-born artist takes an attitude of irreverence along with impressive skill and respect for traditional technique.
The works on display mostly focus on still life and portraiture, for which anthropomorphized critters and doll-like people serve as subjects. Pretzer is able to walk the line between the familiar and the bizarre in a way that is always entertaining and occasionally hilarious. While the work is full of good-natured humor, his combination of pure visual style and deft use of symbolism make Pretzer stand out as more than a mere jokester.
This is Pretzer’s second solo show at Marc Straus and a rare chance to see the artist’s work in person in the US. Rife with uncanniness and endlessly referential, there’s likely to be something for everyone in the show, which will be on view through 17 March 2013.
Images courtesy of Marc Straus