Since the late 1980s Los Angeles-based artist Thaddeus Strode (b. 1964) has created wild, vibrantly coloured mash-ups in primarily large-scale paintings, drawings, graphics, sculpture and mixed media. In his works elements of music, text, and contemporary culture collides. Strode’s work represents a provocative strain within contemporary art - one that expresses, among other things, a strong penchant for dark humor and the absurd.
Much of the strength and visual pleasure of Strode’s aesthetic comes from his self-reflexive combination of painterly styles and preposterous elements, allowing enigmatic texts, phantoms, monsters and castaways to play off one another to produce cryptic – and captivating – fantasy worlds. Born in Santa Monica in 1964, Strode draws freely on the youth culture in which he came of age--comic books, adventure stories, horror films--as well as the culture and clichés of the southern California lifestyle. His compositions seldom convey specific themes or fixed ideas, but are filled with contradictions and incoherencies that play with the viewers’ expectations while merging modes and styles historically seen as oppositional – abstraction versus figuration, the expressive versus the rational. Unlike Pop or various instances of appropriation art, which directly incorporate recognizable imagery from mass media and everyday life, Strode’s canvases contain fragments that appear familiar yet somehow thwart the viewer’s ability to pinpoint definitive sources. Strode took his artistic education at Otis/Parsons Art Institute and California Institute of the Arts, BFA (1982-1986).