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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

As much as I appreciate challenging conceptual, socially-engaged art, sometimes I just want to see something beautiful. You know what I mean? Something that is meticulously crafted and seductively beautiful. Strip away the politics, the cultural commentary, the explorations of race, gender, and class, and just give me beauty. Now some will argue this is impossible. They'll say there's always a subtext at play, whether intentional or not.  If you ask artist Jolynn Krystosek about the bigger themes in her work, you'll get an answer that could satisfy those in search of the provocative. There are ideas about sexuality and femininity.  She admits a romantic pursuit of the sublime.  She's studied Dutch Baroque still life painting and botany (ok, not so provocative, but totally cool). And no doubt these are all interesting ways to explore her work, which is currently on view at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas.  In the end though, I couldn't escape just how delicate and...well...pretty this body of work is.  There's nothing raw, ironic, street, pop, slick, or overtly political about it.  In a world moving at breakneck speed, Krystosek seems to have found a portal back to a Victorian drawing room where she can quietly perfect her carving and cutting. 

Paper Cut-Out by Jolynn Krystosek

Lux patrons view one of Krystosek's large-scale paper cut-outs.

Krystosek is young, only 26, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.  She's been in residence at Lux since the beginning of January to complete a site-specific work (she left this past weekend but her work is still up). The site-specific piece is a large-scale paper collage made from layered, white rice paper depicting a southern California landscape of plants, trees, and boulders.  Also on view are her paper cut-outs, her exotic bird portraits, and (my favorite) her wax floral relief carvings.  These wax pieces are incredibly detailed and just lovely.  I took our little Flip camera out to Lux and talked to Krystosek about her work.  Here's an excerpt of what she had to say about the wax series (stick around for the Black Sabbath shout out).

Krystosek also has a sense of humor, which is evident in her exotic bird portraits adorned with real feathers.  She even names them.  Check them out:

Krystosek's work will be on display at Lux Art Institute through March 18th.  It's an inspiring show, in a cool building, that achieves exactly what Krystosek sets out to do:  create a sublime experience for her viewers. 

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