Artist Spotlight On Danielle Spradley At Mad Art Gallery

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

Look at a Danielle Spradley painting and you can almost hear a cacophony of animals. The majority of her pieces feature four-legged beasts, generally of the bovine variety, piled atop one another or otherwise engaged. Her work will be on exhibit at Mad Art Gallery—along with artist Michael Aaron Williams—beginning with a free opening reception Sept. 13, from 7pm to 11pm.

Danielle Spradley

Danielle Spradley
Courtesy of the artist

Spradley’s work utilizes Native American myths to inhabit the modern world, thereby exploring its increasing fragility as we confront pollution, urban shrinkage and growing poverty. Although the overriding theme in her work is over-consumption, Spradley says there’s also “something about unrequited love” in her pieces. There’s also a heavy dose of whimsy.

Danielle Spradley Art

Danielle Spradley
Courtesy of the artist

Locally, Spradley’s art has been exhibited at Bruno David, Hoffman La Chance, RAC, Aisle One Gallery, CAM, and as far away as Canada, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York City. Not bad for an artist whose primary desire is to make art that makes her happy, and hopefully makes people laugh. How does the artist describe her own work? “Sad, funny and crowded,” she says.

Danielle Spradley Art

Danielle Spradley
Courtesy of the artist

We caught up with Spradley and asked her a few questions about her art and the show at Mad Art Gallery.

ALIVE: Has there been a defining moment in your career?

Danielle Spradley: I left school with this idea that I have to make black and white woodcuts and they have to be gnarly. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if I want to make a painting, then I make a painting. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Do what you want to do, say what you want to say, because those who matter don’t mind, and those who do mind don’t matter.”

ALIVE: What can people expect to see in your show at Mad Art Gallery?

Spradley: Tidal waves of money, piles of dead bovine and big beautiful paper.

ALIVE: Pick one piece in the show and describe it: inspiration/meaning/technique…whatever strikes you.

Spradley: “War Pigs” is a pretty big painting. Visually you see the earth’s layers starting with tons of dinosaur skeletons and ascending into complete human chaos and degradation. It’s been running around in my mind for years— just watching the violence and pollution I see and hear about every day. American foreign policy is a bummer. Black Sabbath tied it altogether for me one late night.

ALIVE: Many of your works feature animals. Tell us about that.

Spradley: A lot of my work is based in Native American folklore. They typically use animals that possess human qualities. My work comments on humanity and I think using animals makes the pill easier to swallow. Also animals are just rad and fun to draw.

ALIVE: What are your plans following this show?

Spradley: I have a few commercial jobs, an album cover and a fly fishing book that I need to get done. Then I’ll go back to making more work. Carving more. Enjoying my life. Hanging out with little kids all day making cool things.

The “Danielle Spradley and Michael Aaron Williams” exhibit is at Mad Art Gallery, Sept. 13 to Oct. 1, 2013. Gallery hours are by appointment only: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 3pm, closed Sunday and Monday. For more information visit the Mad Art Gallery website, or call (314) 771-8230.

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