Van Arno/ Van Arno

United States

Painting

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Van Arno
Van Arno
Male
United States
-0001

When even the angels give up on their perfection, when the bodies of ordinary humans become twisted and almost inhumane, Van Arno, an American artist, finds a place for his art. Sickened of the flawless, he seeks to break the rules of anatomy, physics, even lighting and gravity, so his pieces could gain the level of excitement and aliveness that simply not present in something perfect. He started as an illustrator, but made a transition into painting, becoming interested in the icons of history and culture. His pieces are sometimes considered provocative as he also tackles the elements of religion and paints as he perceives it.

Van Arno - The Pop Art of Francisco Goya, 2011 - Hagar and Ishmael Flee the Bible, 2012
Van Arno – The Pop Art of Francisco Goya, 2011 / Hagar and Ishmael Flee the Bible, 2012

Uber-Mannerism

His style can be described as a step forward from Mannerism. When people became bored with the harmonious classicism and the idealized naturalism of High Renaissance art, the movement made its introduction. Mannerism’s style is characterized by artificiality and artiness with the highest value being placed upon the apparently effortless solution of intricate artistic problems, such as the portrayal of the nude in complex and artificial poses. Arno takes this a step further, creating something that could be understood as the Uber-Mannerism, where he pushes the human figure into the extreme postures, using highly unusual designs and vivid colors.

The artist pushes the human figure into the extreme postures, using highly unusual designs and vivid colors

Van Arno - Dawn Warms the Cadaver Ophelia, 2010
Van Arno – Dawn Warms the Cadaver Ophelia, 2010

Culture, History and Religion

Arno was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied under Lita Albuquerque and Carol Caroompas at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles. His illustrations found their way onto the video game box art, nightclub posters, and album covers. Then, in the late 80’s, he became interested in the icons of the culture and history, so he made a transition into the painting. His range of characters is immense, varying from J.F.K. to Othello, Herman Goering, St. Francis, and Joan of Arc. In the recent years, Arno mixed his obsession with religion with the American history. Actually, he uses religious stories and symbols to evaluate and re-examine the American values.

He uses religious stories and symbols to evaluate and re-examine the American values

Van Arno - The Tar Baby, 2011
Van Arno – The Tar Baby, 2011

Where Are The Limits?

There are no lines Arno will not cross in his pursuit of the limits of the human body, and humanity in general. He explores our history, present, our religious beliefs, often painting angels and saints, sometimes even making them up. There may be some controversy revolving around his art but is unnecessary, as he only tries to find out who we really are and who’ve been. No matter what the subject is, his focus remains on the figure, and Arno knows that his paintings have the power to engage the viewers.

He is represented by Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles.

Van Arno lives and works in Los Angeles.

Featured image: Van Arno – portrait

All images © Van Arno

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Asymetrical Diptych PartyCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2015Your Pencilled Masses, Yearning To Be FreeCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2015Product DisplacementCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014Giants Among UsCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013Art Collector Starter KitCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012Ice Loves RococoCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011The Minstrel CycleJonathan LeVine Gallery, NYSolo
2010California KustomRiverside Art Museum, CAGroup
2009A Change Of SkinCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2009The Boogie DiseaseShooting Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2008In the Land of Retinal DelightsLaguna Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CAGroup
2007Sweet Home ValhallaCorey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2007L’autres Bizzares with Ron EnglishL’autre Galerie, Montreal, QCGroup
2005KnuckledusterFuse Gallery ,New York, NYSolo
2004Van ArnoFeinkunst-Krueger, Hamburg, GermanySolo
2003The Heroic FigureFeral Gallery, Santa Fe, NMSolo
2000Lords Of The LowbrowCBGB’S 313 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2000Up From The Underground.Hollywood Art & Culture Museum, FLGroup
2000False MythologyDelirium Tremens, Los Angeles, CASolo
1998Indictment-EndorsementZero One Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo