Jeremy Scheuch graduated in 2001 from the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA in Printmaking, and thus, each of his paintings demonstrates a structured symmetry and precision necessary for executing each perfect print. The bulk of his paintings are a playful take on the oftentimes not so subtle art of social comment. His imagery consists of familiar childhood images such as unicorns, kittens, and dolphins, with each piece carefully arranged to emulate the painting style of religious iconography. While the style may be similar to icon painting, Scheuch manages to keep his audience broad and included. His new show entitled Some of Us Prefer Illusion to Despair, unites some of the most twee images of our youth with a few recognizable historic as well as patriotic icons thrown in just to make sure you're paying attention.
Unlike a few other artists included in the pop-surrealist genre who choose to exclude certain members of their audience by masking their message in obscure references and difficult to decipher metaphors, Scheuch's work seeks to unify the masses. Of course you can assume that there is a deeper meaning, and if you see it -- you see it, but his work is meant for the people who may not see it; the everyday men and women without an art historical background who may not have the scrutinizing mind of a critic.
Jeremy Scheuch began painting when he was a child and has since developed a keen sense of the strange world around him. Pop culture is what he paints because pop culture is what he knows, what he lives. The cute aesthetic he adheres to could easily be interpreted as a means to discuss how we receive media; newscasters deliver their message in a certain tone that reduces us to children who need to be told what to do, where to go, who to like and dislike. Also, we may find ourselves distracted by the fluffy and scandalous lives of celebrities and would much rather spend our time reading gossip magazines than paying attention to world affairs. After all, it is much easier and much less stressful to prefer illusion to despair.
While there may be room for this interpretation, Scheuch wants his public to be able to laugh at what they are seeing first, and perhaps in some cases, take it at face value. There are absolutely instances in his work where the subtext of the work is clear, but what Scheuch wants, is his audience to recognize the figures in the painting, and more importantly, to have a good time. His paintings are not solely for those who consider themselves art aficionados, but instead they are for those who think paintings of unicorns frolicking amongst kittens and rainbows are funny. The neon colors pump up the fun to maximum volume and leave the viewer with the memory of those hot pink unicorns and ultra Technicolor rainbows that last long after you've left the space.
Jeremy spends as much free time as possible painting in his apartment and sticking to the conviction that unicorns were once real, and that yes, their tears do have healing powers.
written by Betsy Messimer