Roq La Rue is an internationally renowned pop-surrealist/contemporary art gallery located here in Seattle.  Along with her work compiling and editing the “first comprehensive survey of the Pop Surrealism/Lowbrow art movement”, Pop Surrealism (Last Gasp, 2004) Roq La Rue owner/curator, Kirsten Anderson has made a name for herself as the editor at large for Hi-Fructose Magazine and for the consistently awe-inspiring and high quality exhibits presented at her gallery.  This week, the venue launches their latest show, which not only places it’s focus on an outside publication, but also features an outside curator: Monte Beauchamp, founder of BLAB! Magazine.

Since it’s humble beginnings as a self published zine in the 80s, BLAB! has gone through a handful of changes and risen into a highly respected annual anthology of comics, as well as a vehicle of exposure for talents in the contemporary graphic design, illustration, printmaking, and associated art worlds.  This year’s BLAB! SHOW will showcase works by many of the artists who have been featured in both Beauchamp‘s publication and Anderson‘s gallery in the past, respectively.  Among the 26 contributing artists are such Monster Fresh favorites as Travis Louie (previously featured here) and past interviewee, Brian Despain.  More than just a simple assemblage of some of the “underground” art world’s elite, the BLAB! exhibit will actually be a themed group show, with the mythical European Christmas figure of the demonic KRAMPUS operating as the muse for those crafting and providing pieces.

Chances are that, if you spent your youth within the borders of the United States, you probably grew up with little to no reference of the character known as Krampus.  Those who live in countries like Austria or the Czech Republic, on the other hand, are likely to have been spooked into fearing the merciless, goat-like creature at some point in their youth.  Often shown as a horned demon, shackled with chains and/or wielding a switch of sticks, the Krampus takes Dr. Seuss‘ infamous green curmudgeon and raises the holiday gloom factor exponentially.  While kids in the US may be threatened with the fear of receiving stockings full of coal -a useful energy source- in place of “real gifts”, the Krampus threatens to employ such malicious tactics as beating misbehaving little ones with his switch, tossing them into his sack, and abducting them.  Instead of stealing Christmas, he’s just stealing the children, themselves.  The concept of this beast may seem like the antithesis of Santa Clause, who goes around providing treats and joy to families everywhere, and in many ways he is, but it’s important to remember that, although the Alpine countries include both Krampus and St. Nicholas (aka: St. Nikolo) in their mythology, the two are not enemies.  In fact, according to the tales that I’ve become familiar with,  Krampus is actually a bound demon who accompanies St. Nick on his travels -often in disguise- and is actually a minion unleashed by Father Christmas himself, after the children have proven themselves naughty.

The following description of the exhibit and Krampus comes via Roq La Rue:

Roq La Rue is pleased to present a group show curated by the illustrious Monte Beauchamp of Blab! Magazine fame. Monte is bringing us a dynamic and fun exhibition featuring a varied assortment of artists and illustrators, whose work all around the theme of Krampus. Who is Krampus? In Alpine tradition, Krampus is a creepy devil figure who accompanies St Nicolas during the holidays…if you are good, St. Nick gives you presents, but if you’re bad then you might wind up in Krampus’ sack and beaten with a switch! Krampus has become an object of counterculture curiosity and this show reflects both the scaryness as well as the wonderful camp factor of Krampus. But wait- why are we having a show based on a Christmas demon in August? All we can say is Roq La Rue didnt get where we are today by following the rules! So pop on some devil horns and join us for a festive opening on August 12th at the gallery!

Check out this official flier for more details and a full list of contributors…

Opens Friday August 12th 6-9pm!

We, of course, suggest hitting up the opening this Friday, but, for those who will not be able to make it, the exhibit will be available for public view until September 3rd.

With such a great theme and such an impressive list of contributing artists, this show is already yielding some solid interpretations.  Thanks to Kirsten at Roq La Rue, we’ve been provided with the following preview images to give you a taste of what you can expect to see from THE BLAB! SHOW, beginning this Friday.

[Click Images to Enlarge]

Yoko d’Holbachie

Marc Burkehardt

Nicoletta Ceccoli

Martin Wittfooth

Owen Smith

Ryan Heshka

Andy Kehoe

Ana Bagayan

Chris Buzelli

“And the Children Shall Inherit the Earth”
oil on panel

To view some process and detail images of Chris Buzelli‘s “And the Children Shall Inherit the Earth” piece, visit his site by clicking through this link.

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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