The crowds to get into “Love, Annie,” Annie Preece‘s solo show at LAB Art last Thursday the 20th, arrived early, and the line happily trailed up La Brea. Annie’s diverse group of fans amicably socialized while anticipating the opened doors. States Preece:
It was awesome.
That about sums it up. Preece is a master of bluntly getting to the point. She delivers short and not-necessarily-sweet assessments of the world she sees. But whatever Annie observes and reports, it’s almost always with her signature sense of humor. For anyone familiar with her work, this is expected. Yet it still usually manages to catch one off guard. Ever-taking new forms, her work can be like a punch in the stomach that has you doubled over in laughter. It delves into the darker, more raw regions of life–depression, decay, aggressiveness in sexuality, manipulation in politics and religion–but it takes control with lively tones, animated style, and hand-scrawled text that’s like Preece’s own visual form of stand-up.
“Love, Annie” includes work that continues in a similar vein, and contains some familiar imagery. There are a couple close-ups of heavily linear faces that convey a state of interior turmoil. On the whole, these faces seem to be more modeled and brimming with color, than in her previous work. There’s an expansion of Preece’s menagerie of animal subjects, which appear even more vibrant and lovingly detailed. It feels like there are a few more roses blooming in this garden of life. And despite pre-show social media posts about how quickly she had to complete this body of work, it feels like Preece put more time and energy than ever into her material.
The show even introduces some three dimensional work. The freshest –though non-perishable– direction Annie takes is her soup can series. Starting with Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup recipe, Annie throws in her own special ingredient of casual irreverence. In the street art spirit of “nothing is sacred,” Preece makes a caricature of this art world god’s famous contribution. It’s all about keeping the conversation going and adding in your unique voice, she seems to say. What’s holding you back? The world is handed to us. And if we take a cue from Preece, it then becomes what we make of it.
Annie Preece and Artist Manager Chris Kane awaiting the opening
Annie Preece and fellow artist Gregory Siff