2017 Update: Omer lives in NYC now, but you can still check out or buy his art online.
Omer Gal’s show at Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe deals mainly with grotesque trash art. Gal describes his art as “profound looney characters drawn in a rough childish manner on T-shirts,” which hang on the walls, accompanying additional drawings and a photo collage. One of the questions that motivates his works is, is art not a useful commodity?
“I think that people would rather spend money on a nice couch than on something they can’t actually use such as a painting, but what many people don’t realize is that a painting has emotional value, which is very useful,” said Gal.
In this body of work, Gal attempts to challenge the notion by painting directly on an everyday commodity, a T-shirt, which he sees as both wearable and affordable. The shirts all exhibit different shithead characters.
What are the shitheads? They are a group of imaginary monsters which started out as a comic.
“I would pin up a new comic every day on my house’s communal kitchen’s bulletin board. In the comic, one character would say to the other, ‘hey why did you steal my girlfriend!’ and the other shithead would reply ‘because I’m a shithead!’,” said Gal.
Gal pursued what he saw as a “stale joke,” varying the usage in each comic.
“I then started posting the comics on Facebook and made a few ‘shitty’ animations as well,” said Gal. In the tradition of grotesque and trash art, Gal had an urge to make these shitheads as paintings.
“I knew it would lead to some sort of juxtaposition with the history of painting, but wasn’t expecting to start creating wearable paintings at the end of the road.”
In addition to the shitheads, Gal recently had a three-channel video installation called Naked Cave at Aggregate Space in Oakland. The video piece depicts a loose narrative of a wolf that lacks a tongue and his ghostly masked tongue-washer apprentice, who washes and inserts his different false tongues according to the specific mood she chooses he should be in.
“With each insertion of a different tongue the wolf goes through a new journey,” said Gal. Gal also finished Biotic Rituals recently, a debut LP recorded by his “mystical, quirky folk band,” Cookie Tongue.
“The name Biotic Rituals is also my main theme for a series of multicolor pen drawings. You can see a glimpse at Momi Toby’s,” said Gal.
The closing reception for Gal’s gallery is Sunday, June 8, 6 p.m., and will include shithead-shirt owners commencing in a performance called “The Shitheads Diaspora”.