The nationally known artist debuting a dynamic new exhibit this weekend at the Spring Hill’s Ever After Gallery goes by a single name – or more precisely, two single names. While this gifted painter releases his artistic masterworks under the brand Art of Gunnar, he also answers to another title that’s even more important to him: Dad.
Gunnar’s “Dystopia” exhibition, which is opening during a free reception from 7-10 pm on Saturday, June 17, at the Ever After Gallery, centers around vividly illustrated images of young children growing up in a world that has not been made for them. “What I want to capture is the idea that we need to create a better planet for future generations,” said Gunnar, a father of two and a newly minted grandfather. “I want to save the earth, not for myself, but for my children.”
Dystopia features 13 original oil paintings. All of these display animated kids in a setting engulfed in darkness and despair, but not a world devoid of hope. “I paint a single butterfly in each painting,” said Gunnar, a Connecticut resident. “A sign of hope. Also, the sign of a return to nature.”
In addition, several of the children are seen engaged in activities such as reading and pet care, exhibiting small steps towards the creation of a better civilization. “These cartoon kids are planning a relaunch. The future is in their hands,” he stated.
This exhibit is very much in line with the creative mission of this avid ‘doodler’ and tattoo artist, who travels the nation with his art. “My oil paintings combine elements of cartoon, illustration, and classical art to create works that are both playful and profound,” read his artist statement. “Often using children or animals as the subjects in my art, I try to explore the depth and complexity of human emotion, from love and joy to pain and loss, inviting viewers to connect with their own experiences.”
“Nature is another key inspiration, with its endless beauty and complexity providing a backdrop for much of my work,” the statement continued. “I seek to capture the wonder and awe of the natural world to explore the connections between humanity and the environment, as well as humankind’s often devastating impacts on nature. Through my art, I also grapple with the challenges facing our world today, and seek to find hidden connections between tradition and modernity, old and new. I hope to inspire positive change and to share my work with a large audience inviting them on a journey of exploration and discovery that may challenge them, inspire them or touch them in an impactful way.”
Dee Dee Seruga, exhibit coordinator of the Ever After Gallery, is proud to introduce the “Dystopia” exhibition, a new body of work from Art of Gunnar, to the Hernando community. “Gunnar is one of my best friends, that I know through his tattoo art,” said Seruga. “Every one of his artistic works tells a story. And I love it that he features children in his art. Children are our future.”
Seruga promises a gala opening reception for Dystopia, featuring wine and cheese. Admission is free. And while the exhibit was not intentionally timed to coincide with the Father’s Day holiday, she sees Gunnar (who counts Norman Rockwell among his influences) as an artist who definitely counts fatherhood among his inspirations. “I could have scheduled the exhibit a week earlier,” she said. “But, he said no. The earlier date, he said, was his daughter’s birthday.” For more about the Dystopia exhibit, visit www.facebook.com/events/938228654095655