April 5-May 25, 2013
First Friday Gallery Walks: April 5 & May 3, 6-10pm
Ira Upin, Chapter 7 – Fat Cat
Ira Upin’s Strong Man series consists of a series of oil on self-portraits done in a compelling narrative realist style. The artist puts himself in imagined situations that are at once fanciful and provocative, including a cigar-smoking kingpin in Fat Cat (2010) and a weight lifter in a surreal, hybrid stage set in Impossible Burden (2009). Upin’s self-portraits explore issues such as identity, the bittersweet process of aging as a family man, and the meaning of life. He brings visual intensity to expressing his fears, dreams, and family bonds. Themes of vulnerability, insecurity and confidence, and attempts to control randomness in life, repeat themselves through the series.
Ira Upin was born in Chicago and has lived in Philadelphia since earning his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He began his artistic training at the University of Illinois in Medical Illustration, but it didn’t sufficiently capture his imagination. He turned to fine art and has not looked back since. When he was not painting, Upin designed and renovated abandoned buildings in his neighborhood in Philadelphia. After exploring various subject matter and processes, this current body of work brings Upin back to the realistic imagery and oil paint that he used when he first came into his own as a visual artist.