"The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable" Book Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Books
Written and illustrated by Luke Chueh
2012, 192 Pages, Reference
Released on June 12th, 2012
I'll be the first to admit that I don't necessarily "get" art. I've been to museums and I've seen paintings, but for the most part, I come out going "eh." I think that would change if I ever get the opportunity to visit Gallery1988 or at least find art I appreciate. Luke Cheuh is one of the artists that put that gallery on the map and Titan Books has released a huge book showcasing his work from 2003-2009.
The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable is filled with the kind of art that I would want to hang on my walls. His work is minimalistic and simple, yet darkly funny. Some of his pieces can be downright depressing. Most of Chueh's work follows a similar pattern. There's a plain background, usually of a dark grey or red, with a character in the foreground. Most of the time the character is sad or covered in blood or sad because he's covered in blood.
The bear is a constant throughout many pieces, but other animals such as monkeys and rabbits pop up, usually not knowing what they're doing or struggling to come to grips with their realities. The paintings depict things like a legless rabbit staring longingly at a box containing some brand new shoes or a chicken looking down at a plate of eggs. It's this kind of dark humor that makes Chueh's work so charming.
Bearing the Unbearable is interspersed with brief introductions by people that have worked with Chueh over the years. They're not much, but they provide some context to the pieces throughout the book. Obviously since this is an art book, you're not buying it for the words, but for someone like me who hadn't heard of Chueh before the release of this title, it helps.
Chueh's work is certainly not for everyone, but if you're a horror fan, you're probably going to enjoy it. I earmarked a number of pieces that I just have to find prints of because they're either incredibly funny ("Ham" or "Honey Bear") or subtly brilliant ("The Soundtrack (To My Life)" or "Twinkie"). If you like your humor twisted, you're going to love this book.
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