OOkie, Between the Shadows and the Soul; solo show at the Juxtapose Gallery on Friday, October 20th; 6-9pm; Artwork by Joanna M. Wezyk

Pink Victorian

OOkie, Between the Shadows and the Soul

During the fall, Westfield, NJ, offers a unique perspective into the past with a nighttime silhouettes of historical landmarks outlined with the orange hue of spooky Halloween decorations. This is where former home of renowned cartoonist Charles Addams lies, along with the contrasting stately Victorian mansions that lead to the beguiling downtown cemetery, all creating a connection to the lives of the buried inhabitants. Through this series of oil paintings, drawings, and digital images, I explore this contrast using the themes of both fear and bliss, and how they entwine with childhood memories. Twisted, personified shadows in lively playrooms, terrifyingly human-like dolls, and bouquets of beautiful flowers accompanied by deathly moths. In my presentation of dollhouses, I use references to horror in pop-culture, such as The Exorcist, Nosferatu, and The Shining. Colorful petals imitate moths, and the stems of flowers develop into living vines, leading the viewers into a fear of beauty.

In my search of the dollhouse’s symbolic meaning, I also researched the Henrik Ibsen’s famous play by A Doll’s House. My desire to build emotional tension within my paintings was inspired Ibsen’s everlasting message of the interaction between love and hate, fear and bliss, and freedom and imprisonment.