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Jeremy McAnally brings color to the dark side 

Punk rock macabre

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When an October show slot became available at co-op gallery Art 111, local artist Jeremy McAnally was first in line to fill it. It meant that time would be tight to finish paintings he’d originally slated for a show later in the year, but it also meant that he could showcase his colorful, horror-themed art at the perfect time of year: Halloween.

In McAnally’s experience, getting into galleries as a painter of the macabre can be a challenge. But Halloween affords artists of the genre a special opportunity to shine a light on their unique artistic darkness.

“I’m inspired by nightmares, horror movie flashbacks, phrases that become twisted in my head...” says McAnally. “I love horror and everything that surrounds it.”

McAnally found his artistic ambition in elementary school, where his classmates would often pay him a dollar for his sketches. Even then, his interest in horror had begun to manifest itself through art — he distinctly recalls being scolded for sketching images like severed heads in the margins of his homework in third grade.

In the late ’90s, McAnally (disclosure: who’s now a friend of mine) took up painting on canvas. Largely self-taught, he began developing his signature style, which he defines as stylized semi-realism. His pieces focus largely on horror imagery rendered in jarringly colorful acrylics like bright yellows, rich purples and glowing reds.

The dichotomy between the dark subject matter of McAnally’s paintings — bloodied nudes, skulls, flayed bodies — and the vibrant colors he uses to depict them, is wholly intentional.

“It seems like dark subject matter is always treated with dark colors,” says McAnally. “I wanted to make horror look more punk rock — to give it more attitude.”

McAnally’s show, Forced Perspective, opens with a celebratory costume party and will feature monsters, phobias, nightmares and zombies.

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