In Catamount’s Rankin Gallery, large acrylic paintings and small mixed media pieces are attributed to Chuck Trotsky. Trotsky is a fictitious online persona born of the late-night imaginings and collaborative ambitions of Vermont artist Ben Barnes. Trotsky’s paintings, iconic images pilfered from pop culture and paired with anachronistic props or contrasting settings, reference the digital world of his 2013 origins.
Smaller mixed media paintings, often created with spray paint or house paint and hand cut stencils on paper or wood, are “less precious,” Barnes says, allowing more risk and a looser aesthetic that welcomes happy accidents and quirkier (and more affordable) pieces. Trotsky pieces both large and small challenge our understanding of the familiar, however, with jarringly artificial elements or unexpected combinations that sometimes toe the line between humor and provocation.
Chuck Trotsky’s exhibition “Slightly Irregular” is showing in Catamount’s Rankin Gallery now through November 20th.