Levity and absurdity can be more poignant lenses for exploring the human condition than overly self-serious avenues. Visual art in particular articulates this dichotomy, at once undercutting themes as complex as mortality and the passing of time while also interpreting them in valuable and thought-provoking ways (see: surrealism).
Adding to this legacy is Dylan Moss and his current show at Elephant Gallery, “Infinite Goof,” the title of which alludes to novelist David Foster Wallace’s own subversive, high/low epic exploration of life’s greatest mysteries. The show, Moss’ first solo exhibition, includes illustration, large-scale airbrush and acrylic paintings in which he wrestles with significant philosophies in unconventional ways. It runs until December 30, 2019.
“A native of Baltimore, Moss settled in Nashville in 2017 and immediately attracted attention with his unique, trippy line and subject matter ranging from social justice and consumerism to the oddity of being a human being in this insane world,” according to a release from the gallery.
Rose, a large-scale airbrush painting, for instance, puts an obvious focus on one of our most overly-symbolized blooms. But through airbrushing and emphasis on the flower’s thorns, the piece seems to beckon more toward tattooing or black light posters than it does toward, say, a Monet. The large safety pin and cartoonish hummingbird engulfed in the tangled, winding flower seem also to add to the “trippyness,” subversion and overt symbolism.
This is not the first time Elephant Gallery has put the spotlight on art’s ability to be both comedic and dramatic, perhaps even cynical, simultaneously. Its recent production of “Smoke Show” featured artists from around the country elevating one of life’s most maligned simple pleasures in original and interesting ways. The approach is becoming something of a trademark for the North Nashville curators.
Moss has exhibited previously at OZ Arts.
Elephant Gallery is located at 1411 Buchanan St.