For many adults, their teenage years can be defined as a decade of memories they only wish they could forget. Scarred-over from years of mental denial, these humiliations begin with puberty and last well into their twenties. Or perhaps, as I am coming to realize, life is only a series of brutal embarrassments, one after another, and the only reason our childhoods are idealized is because we have mostly forgotten or not comprehended the ghastly parts, while teen-hood is a series of hormonally induced roller-coaster moments that somehow manage to stick. Angst is followed by deeper angst in an endless pattern that is imprinted into our brains much in the same way soldiers return home from war with videos playing behind their eyelids of fire and rotting bodies and an overwhelming feeling of deep foreboding. Or perhaps that’s just me.
Anyway, there are people like me, who still have nightmares wherein they are a teeneager and wake up sweating, but relieved that at least, with all the stresses adult life imparts, they are no longer 17. These people are the majority, it seems. And then there are those that manage to take the best parts of their teen years, the pop culture, the imagery, the moments of brightness in a dreary decade of habitual know-it-alledness that only a teenager can muster, and turn it all into art. The way that Michelle Guintu does this is remarkable.
New Image Art’s solo show of Guintu’s work encompasses the whole range of pop culture that she consumed during her teenage years. Her art is colorful and dreamy. This is a satirical assemblage of everything from sewn-together cigarettes to McDonald’s wrapper dolls, and of course the tempura painted hip hop icons which make up her most recent work.
“Walking Home” is a show that must be experienced and we at CARTWHEEL highly recommend you attend, if only to make room for your own better memories of the present. The opening night is December 14 from 7-10 p.m., and the show itself runs until January 11.