Mouthing Off

It doesn't matter how much you brush those teeth, the inside of your mouth is a dank, dirty place. Just think of that weird sludge that comes out every time you floss. Artist Scott Teplin likes to ponder this oral nastiness in some of his drawings -- perhaps a little too much. "No gallery wants to touch those," he says.

That is, until now. Teplin's work will be on display with that of Georganne Deen and Patrick Phipps at Mixture Contemporary Art's latest exhibition, titled, appropriately enough, "Georganne Deen, Patrick Phipps, Scott Teplin." Teplin has incorporated his icky mouths into works made specifically for this show, which emphasizes text, humor and grotesqueries.

The artist doesn't always use text in his work, but he saw the show as an opportunity to expand upon his typographic drawings. Changing things up is important to him. "Otherwise," he says, "you don't get pushed in different directions and you just kind of keep doing what you're doing."

In Choke Cherry, a cherrylike blob sits at the fore, with a whole set of hairy teeth poking out of it. The phrases "yellow canary" and "choke cherry" are drawn across the paper, strung together by tubing that links one nasty mouth on the page to another. It's definitely on the grotesque side, but there's also some humor in there. "Mad Magazine was a huge influence on me," he says, "but also my father is an ear, nose and throat surgeon."

It gets a little grosser with Imbicillin, a drawing with these same mouths connected by the same tubing (which, by the way, looks a lot like a weird, curved, shared gleak). This time around one of the mouths is foaming slightly. The phrase "imbicillin villain" sprawls across the page in cartoonish letters. We're not sure what an imbicillin villain is, but we reckon it's something nasty. Says Teplin, "I mess around until I find something I think is really funny." -- Keith Plocek

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