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Wherefore Lowbrow Art: “Curious Reminiscence” to Debut in Escondido This Week

Geishas clutching Viewfinders against Magritteian clouds. Monocoled socialites snarking over conversation bubbles of snakes. A “zombie schoolgirl from the far reaches of Sector 57.”

These strange, somehow appropriate narratives are just some of the works of Josh Taylor and Aaron Jasinski, whose exhibit, "Curious Reminiscence," will debut at Distinction Gallery this week, following in the gallery’s tradition of spotlighting on-the-verge pop surrealists (like Kelly Vivanco and Aaron McKinney, who formerly housed canvasses there).

Jasinski and Taylor are both alums of the gallery, though this is the first time they’ll share wall space. Recurring Geisha symbolism aside, any aesthetic similarities between the two artists end there.

Jasinski, who lives in Seattle and is also a musician, peppers his work with social commentary and whimsical creatures (think morose hipsters mingling with monkeys in space suits), utilizing a Technicolor palette to jar the senses.

Meanwhile, Taylor, a Pratt grad who’s in the midst of composing a graphic novel called “Bird Girl” in Vermont, relies on murky monochrome and hurried pen marks to cultivate a dreamworld where tentacles and the manga-like undead intertwine.

The lowbrow art movement has been on the rise for a few decades, though it’s just now reaching a fever pitch (no thanks to the countless action-sport companies and indie bands that have sought commissions). Besides Subtext, Distinction Gallery is one of the few in S.D. to hone in on its uprising, choosing to focus on select artists each month, whom gallery owner and curator Melissa Walker and her husband hand-pick – though its location, an unassuming corner of Escondido, is an interesting counterpart to the genre’s urban grit.

“(The location) actually found me,” muses Walker. “I didn't necessarily think it was the best place to open a gallery, but I wanted to live and work in the same city, and my house is here. Really, our business could be anywhere, because we sell to clients all over the world. At this point, we’re pretty rooted here - and you can't beat the early morning sunshine.”

Walker says that she isn't pop surrealist-exclusive, though Distinction does demonstrate her expert eye for lowbrow art. She first spotted Taylor’s work at a gallery in L.A.; Jasinski she found in a news rack after one of his pieces graced the cover of lowbrow magazine Ism.

“They’re two of the most well-received artists we’ve worked with,” says Walker of the upcoming exhibit. “(Jasinski) never runs out of ideas. Every time we sell a batch of works a new, equally intriguing batch arrives, and (Taylor) has a great sense of humor, apparent in both his paintings and his titles. It’s hard, if not impossible, to walk by one of his paintings without stopping to look.”

"Curious Reminisence," featuring the works of Josh Taylor and Aaron Jasinski, will be at Distinction Gallery from March 13-April 3.


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