Phallon J. Beckham on Paintings by Jack Coyle
I’m really not sure about how I feel about art. I know that as you get older you’re supposed to appreciate art, learn about the artist, and eloquently talk about what the artist is trying to convey in his or her piece. Honestly, I don’t know about any of that stuff. I just think it looks cool.
Typically, I’m not attracted to visual art unless it speaks to a particular culture, or pertains to my own personal interests. But when I first Jack Coyle’s paintings on display through the window of the MICA Gateway exhibit, I did a double take. I was immediately drawn to them. The artist cleverly painted what looks like three-dimensional graffiti in multi-colored twisted tubes that scream Saturday morning cartoons. Somehow, Coyle’s piece is almost nostalgic for me.
I went inside to fully take in the artistry on display. There were an array of blue, yellow, green, and pink puffy entangled plush tubes sitting on the floor in front of the paintings. They reminded me of the worms from Sesame Street that hang out with Oscar the Grouch.
I have a tendency to talk to myself and sometimes loud – it’s okay, I’ve been tested. I had several questions that I asked myself while looking at the pieces.
Are they supposed to look like that?
Why is this so cool?
What the hell is this?
They’re called, Noodles. In fact, the sign reads: “We’ve just always referred to them as NOODLES”.
Noodles” is an ongoing series consisting of both paintings and sculptures that explore this kind of organic obscurity in highly dynamic compositions. It depicts unconventional, fleshy shapes and curlicue forms delineated by curved lines and looping boundaries, superimposed and intertwined in ways that convey movement and dimensionality. (jackcoyleart.com)
They don’t really look like noodles to me. In fact, they don’t look like noodles at all. When I think of noodles, I think of the kind you eat when you’re poor in college. But these kinds of noodles are colorful, exciting, and remind you of the fun innocence of childhood. Almost like, when you were a kid and you get excited when mom says that we’re having spaghetti for dinner. Seriously, who doesn’t like spaghetti?
Noodles are a collaborative piece, originally created sophomore painting major Jack Coyle, whose paintings are accompanied by fiber and design major Mazzy Bell’s sculpture. The exhibit is playful and the colors draw you in, and all the while you’re trying to figure out the mindset of the artists.
The untitled painted “Noodles” are my favorite part of the collaboration. The first time I looked at the paintings my mind went to street graffiti and contemporary artist, KAWS . Coyle’s paintings are reminiscent of the wild style graffiti that used to adorn the subway trains of New York, but without a reference to text or words. However, his work is more refined than the graffiti that was once sprawled on the subway cars, but still very spirited. Coyle’s figures bend and twist into a wild formation of colors that light up his pieces. I’m not sure if Coyle would classify his work as, “Street Art,” but I think I may have discovered the next best thing in the genre; one that could be quite lucrative for him. Jack Coyle’s, “Noodles” are in the process of establishing a strong presence in the contemporary art world as well as the sub- cultures that curate art of its caliber.
I will admit to having some trouble absorbing the juxtaposition of the fleece filled “Noodles” along side the paintings. Coyle’s portion of the exhibit is so clearly executed that the paintings could have stood alone by themselves, while Bell’s fleece-filled sculptures lack in strength and fall short of Coyle’s paintings. Though they did add some flare to the piece and are clearly there to draw people into the exhibition, the physical noodles do not enhance to the exhibit any further and it is difficult to understand why Coyle would decide to join forces with Bell. Who knows, maybe I just wanted to see swim noodles within the exhibition? It would have added to my nostalgia.
I recommend checking the exhibit out and forming your own opinion.
I think it’s pretty cool.
“Noodles,” MICA Student Exhibition, collaborative painting and textiles installation with Mazzy Bell, MICA Gateway Gallery 1, Baltimore, Maryland (Feb. 21 – Mar. 26, 2016).