Daniel Funkhouser doesn't tend to hold anything back when he creates art.
According to the 27-year-old painter and photographer, his ultra-colorful artwork incorporates a "chaotic collision of materials, styles, and influences"
"There's no such thing as too much when I'm making art," Funkhouser says. "I always put as much as I can fit into a piece and make an insane mix of everything. It's always really bright, with as many different kinds of colors as possible. I like how they clash and contrast and have all this energy. So there's always this cacophony in my art, but I always try and turn it into a symphony."
Hence the name of his latest show, "Cacophrodisiac," which opens tonight at eye lounge. The exhibition consists of four large mixed media installations and 10 smaller pieces that use both painting and photography and explore gender roles through a chaotic collision of colorful imagery.
"The title is a pun on the words 'cacophony' and 'aphrodisiac,' because of all the chaos inherent to my art work. And because this show is a little bit more about gender and sexuality than some of my other shows," he says.
Gender is an important issue to the artist, who describes himself on his Facebook page as being "both male and female and neither male nor female." As such, most of the pieces in the show are self-portraits where Funkhouser explores his feelings about his own gender.
For instance, a larger piece entitled "Saturday Evening Glitter" riffs on the traditional stereotypes of husband and wife as portrayed in Norman Rockwell's iconic paintings for the Saturday Evening Post. Funkhouser took Rockwell's work and has "subverted it and made things really camp" by depicting himself in both the male and female roles since he "has a very fluid sense of his own gender."
"I don't really feel any connection to being either gender, I feel like I can be both at once or either," he says. "And that's evident in the show, there are a lot of figures that have both masculine and feminine characteristics at the same time."
The show is also a departure for the artist in terms of the media he's using, as Funkhouser has primarily been a painter up to this point in his career. He began dabbling in photography for "Cacophrodisiac," however, in order to create such mixed media pieces as large pieces of Plexiglas with transparent black in white photos, as well as some painting elements on top.
"They're like big shadowboxes in a sense, so you see the stuff inside. And there's also a variety of photos and paintings and transfers in the show," Funkhouser says.
Rockwell isn't the only renowned artist that Funkhouser has used for inspiration for "Cacophrodisiac," as he's also borrowed a page from renowned Andy Warhol and the legendary Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
"There's a piece I made where it's sort of a take on Andy Warhol. He would take one image and repeat it, so I've taken one image of myself and done the same, where I've changed not only the color, but the style," Funkhouser says. "I've always been attracted to artists who always did really dramatic, sort of bombastic art. Like baroque art, and Caravaggio's also one of my favorite painters. I love him because all of his work is super dramatic, dynamic, and all over the pace, and is the kind of work that makes me feel energetic, and I've tried to interject that sort of feel into both my work and this show."
The opening reception for "Cacophrodisiac - Photos and Paintings by Daniel Funkhouser" takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight at eye lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. The show will run through December 11. Click here for more info.
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